How Cult Film Company A24 Is Reviving Gen Z’s Love for Cinema Through Inclusive Exclusivity

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  • Text Emma Fecko & Danielle Lee
  • Design Aodan Reddy

The Euphoria-inspired glitterification of makeup trends and the inescapable image of Hereditary’s Toni Collette inundating Twitter timelines have become instantly recognizable. The source? A24 and its profound infiltration into modern pop culture, in large part due to the production company’s ravenous Gen Z fanbase.

Attracting attention in its early years with small but memorable releases like Room and The Witch, A24 burst into the mainstream in 2016 with Best Picture Winner Moonlight. Ever since, it has maintained momentum with instant classics like Lady Bird and, most recently, the mind-bending metadrama Everything Everywhere All at Once.

Popular releases aside, A24 has secured itself a home amid ever-oscillating trends in pop culture by not only piquing Gen Z’s attention, but retaining it through truly unique and tenacious marketing efforts.

It all starts with creating content that they know will resonate with a Gen Z audience, through casting left-of-center characters in partnership with agencies like JV8Inc, writing scripts that often contain Gen Z lingo and extending the worlds created by their films through exclusive merch, surprise drops and must-have photo books. “A24 taps into youth culture in a way that others don’t. They take risks and rip up the Hollywood way of doing things,” says Chandra Johnson, Director of Story at Day One. “Many of their movies and shows depict adolescence in a way that’s transparent and resonates amongst Gen Z. No show has shifted culture or birthed A-list stars quite like Euphoria.”

In an industry that is known to perpetuate homogenous narratives and sideline people of color, Creative Strategy Coordinator, Alana Myers, says A24’s diversity is worth crediting for why their films connect with young audiences. “They work with diverse creators, actors and crew, and I think they’re great at casting actors who, for the most part, are universally loved by Gen Z, like Zendaya, Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet,” Myers says, “I also appreciate that they know how to light POC actors correctly—something other companies, unfortunately, often don’t know how to do.”

A24 has attracted a largely Gen Z fandom partly through their subscription model, AAA24, which offers fans an all-access pass to all things A24. There are gifts that promise exclusivity like limited-edition merch, and A24’s card-carrying members pay $5 per month (or $55 annually) for “VIP treatment,” like priority access to sales, events and even occasional opportunities to see their releases for free.

Beyond the zines and birthday gifts that AAA24 members can procure, the subscription service offers something invaluable: the ability to flex. Gen Z is fueled by an exclusivity incentivized by video platforms like #client IG Reels, engendering an acute sense of “FOMO” for events and an ability to feel validated by showing off new products in exchange for likes. When devotees adorn themselves in membership pins or flash their membership cards (every member gets a complimentary card and welcome zine upon signing up), they’re awarded an opportunity to flaunt.

Considering the minimalist IYKYK nature of the available merch—which also employs trendy or novel design (like a collectable mini shell for their release Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, currently sold out)—AAA24 members benefit from the exclusivity of a quasi-secret society while simultaneously supporting its expansion into mainstream culture. This prompts those without the inside scoop to inquire about the trendy “streetwear brand.”

“A24 is an entity that caters towards a specific subset of moviegoers who love great writing, beautiful visuals, obscure plots and endings,” says Digital Strategy Coordinator Asia Clark, “It has an edge that its competitors don't have.”

She compares the inclusivity of the membership to being in the know: “Exclusivity is the same as being able to laugh at an inside joke. It's the feeling that you're able to learn inside information that only you and a small pool of people get to know.”

Through physical indicators of fandom, AAA24 cements A24 as a bona fide lifestyle brand, not just an entertainment company beloved by cinephiles.

Beyond the tangible means of flexing, AAA24 members are privy to other exclusive perks like A24’s Close Friends list on #client Instagram, which gives users unique access to giveaways and “sneak peeks” that aren’t typically posted on the company’s main account. For example, added members can find behind-the-scenes glimpses of the interior workings of the company—from screenshots of internal emails about a candle inspired by a prop in Everything Everywhere All at Once, to candid photos of merch items posted during “office closet cleanouts”.

The result? A24 quickly reached their limit for the number of close friends they could add. Hordes of A24 members who made it on the close friends list wait to see what’s revealed next in the monthly office closet cleanout, then watch as it’s sold for thousands of dollars on secondhand resale markets like eBay.

A24 has captivated Gen Z’s fleeting attention in a way most companies could only dream of. Through A24’s resounding success, brands can gain insight into how best to reach Gen Z audiences. When companies tailor their content towards Gen Z and their releases lend themselves to memes (whether through screenshot-worthy stills or irreverent merch and gorgeous photobooks), they’re much more likely to fuel organic marketing from Gen Z. Plus, the inherent exclusivity of a membership program offers fans a plethora of touchpoints to interact with the brand.

If their Timothée Chalamet-abundant films weren’t enough, A24 has cemented their role as Gen Z’s go-to with their AAA24 membership program, offering covetable gifts galore that are worth a social media flex, a peek behind the curtain into how the company works through a “Close Friends” experience and, ultimately, the most invaluable perk of all: a feeling that you’re a part of the club.