A24 Seeks Summer Box Office with Release Dates for ‘The Farewell’ and ‘Last Black Man’

Exclusive: The two Sundance breakouts join the boutique distributor's other big summer contender, the May release "The Souvenir."
"The Farewell"
"The Farewell"

The summer box office typically plays home to some of the year’s biggest blockbusters, but boutique distributor A24 is banking on a trio of festival favorites to turn the popcorn season into something decidedly more offbeat and special.

The company will release three of its Sundance hits during the upcoming summer season, including Lulu Wang’s breakout second film “The Farewell” and Joe Talbot’s special jury award winner “The Last Black Man in San Francisco.” Last week, the company announced the May 17 release date for Joanna Hogg’s Sundance darling “The Souvenir,” which boasts the debut performance of breakout Honor Swinton Byrne.

Talbot’s film, which stars the very actor who inspired it, will hit theaters on June 14, while Wang’s beloved family dramedy (with a wonderful performance from Awkwafina) will arrive a month later, on July 12. The films will face off against some hefty studio competition, with “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” going head to head with “Men in Black International” and the newest “Shaft” film, while “The Farewell” will compete with Fox’s action comedy “Stuber.”

The three films all topped IndieWire’s annual Sundance critics survey, with Wang’s bittersweet semi-autobiographical second film earning the top spot on the Best Film list, and Hogg’s own real-life-inspired drama picking up second place, while Talbot’s feature filmmaking debut came in third.

A24 is also on deck to distribute Hogg’s planned sequel to her Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema-winning film, which will once again star Byrne in the lead role, but this time her romantic love interest will be played by none other than Robert Pattinson.

Last summer, A24 released another trio of festival hits, when it opened Paul Schrader’s critically beloved “First Reformed,” Ari Aster’s chilling “Hereditary,” and Bo Burnham’s breakout feature directorial debut “Eighth Grade” in May and July. It proved to be a smart play for “Hereditary,” which is the distributor’s second-highest-earning film ever (behind Oscar favorite “Lady Bird”), while both “First Reformed” and “Eighth Grade” managed to keep up their summer momentum and turn it into eventual awards affection.

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