There's a new player in the independent film business, DirecTV. The satellite operator has partnered with independent film studio A24 to acquire films, which A24 will release theatrically. DirecTV will get the rights to offer the films on-demand 30 days before their theatrical release, the Wall Street Journal reported.
DirecTV has committed $40 million to the partnership, a relatively small portion of the satellite operator's total revenue ($7.7 billion in the second quarter of 2013), according to Variety.
"Enemy," starring Jake Gyllenhaal, directed by Denis Villeneuve and based on Javier Gulon's adaptation of Jose Saramago's novel "The Double," was the first film the two companies jointly acquired (at the Toronto Film Festival). DirecTV has plans to debut "Enemy" in early 2014.
A24 also acquired North American rights to Steven Knight's Tom Hardy-starring thriller "Locke" and Jonathan Glazer's moody sci-fi thriller "Under the Skin," starring Scarlett Johansson, out of the Toronto International Film Festival. The New York-based company was founded in August 2012 by David Fenkel, Daniel Katz and John Hodges to acquire and produce films, with the goal of releasing eight to ten films annually. Recently, A24 has released James Ponsoldt's "The Spectacular Now," Harmony Korine's "Spring Breakers" and Sofia Coppola's "The Bling Ring."
The deal is a sign of the increasing importance of VOD for indie titles. It will also give A24 more leverage when bidding on films. "What we're seeing here is a powerful partner who's not just
incentivized to maximize transactions, but to invest in the movie's
long-term value," David Fenkel, a partner at A24, told the Wall Street Journal.