As a form of entertainment dependent on a costly creative process, it’s only natural that the biggest films have tended to come from the biggest production companies. With focus testing and proven names, these businesses have their products down to a fine art. Yet, despite the generational dominance of these established players, the last decade has been filled with examples of successful films from small production companies. So, what are the standouts here, and why have the winds of change begun to blow in favor of the little guys?
Making Waves with A24
Perhaps the best illustration of indie names in the film industry succeeding in recent years comes from A24. As an independent entertainment company, A24 started in 2012, yet it’s already produced some huge hits with both critical and commercial acclaim.
So far avoiding setting their targets on traditional blockbuster films, A24 has instead focussed on more intimate stories exploring humanity over outright action. These include the horror films Midsommar and Hereditary, as well as the science-fiction offering Ex Machina. Outside of film, the international sensation Euphoria is also a show the business has had a hand in.
In terms of financial success, the most rewarding project from A24 has been Hereditary, which made $80 million off a $10 million budget. With their other major projects seeing similarly bankable gaps between budgets and returns, A24 has made a name for itself as a company that knows which unusual productions will pay off.
Underdogs Upsetting the Status Quo
A profound trend in films in the last decade has been the rise and then domination of the action franchise universe. Though films like the James Bond series have maintained a slow burn in this regard for generations, it’s only recently that the likes of Marvel and the Fast and Furious series have raised the bar to a new level. This is only natural, as viewers love the spectacle, but a shifting focus has left a gap where smaller indie companies have arrived to fill in the void.
The same problem has been seen in the landscape of online video games, where AAA big-budget titles dominate the advertising air-waves. Games like Red Dead Redemption and Call of Duty routinely lead the charts, but as in film, indie games are finding success in picking up the slack. Titles like Hades and Stardew Valley might not have the production values of the biggest games, but thanks to focussing more on the customers, they’re still success stories.
This process has been mirrored in the online gambling industry: the best UK online casinos directories often showcase the well-reputed ‘big’ casinos but equally create space for rising small-scale, independent casinos. Through high-quality customer reviews and word-of-mouth reputation, it’s possible to pave a successful path even as an underdog. LeoVegas is a popular example here, as an online casino that quickly gained a place among the most internationally well-known casinos, despite being just over ten years old. Combining classic gameplay with modern convenience, these approaches have fundamentally reformed the market, shaking up centuries of established norms.
The takeaway from the recent success of indie film studios and other small names in the entertainment industry is that acceleration isn’t always the way forward. There is always a place for smaller efforts, even in the face of overwhelming financial opposition, as this Captain Marvel review outlines. Customer reviews, word of mouth, and a general interest in seeing something new make it possible for newer indie developers to succeed, and even thrive.
Inevitably, this does raise questions as to the fate of the most successful indie companies. Will they hold true to their roots, or will they seek to usurp those at the top? It’s an important consideration, one which can only be answered by the heads of these companies, and the true values which matter to them most. If nothing else, the current trajectory makes it likely that a constant stream of newcomers is all but inevitable, so fans of smaller and more imaginative titles will never have to miss out.