EXCLUSIVE: Ari Aster’s debut feature Hereditary premiered in the Midnight section of Sundance back in January to unanimously positive response and has now become the biggest worldwide grossing movie ever for A24. With $77.5 million at the global box office, the low-budget horror is the third in-house production for A24, with Palmstar and Lars Knudsen on as producers, that the company has seen through a worldwide release following Barry Jenkins’ Best Picture Oscar winner Moonlight and Greta Gerwig’s Oscar nominated Lady Bird.
But the model on this one was slightly different.
With Moonlight, A24 produced and sold international, after the film premiered as a finished feature. With Lady Bird, A24 sold the movie to Universal which rolled it out through awards season. On Hereditary, some markets were sold off of footage; the rest of the world came on board post-Sundance.
Hereditary differs in that it represents the first time A24 has been involved from impetus, sold international itself and set a coordinated release with overseas indie distributors. The success comes as horror has picked up great steam over the past few years and overseas audiences, particularly in Latin America and the emerging South East Asian markets, are great consumers.
The top overseas plays on Hereditary are the UK (Entertainment) at $7.29M, topping comps like Insidious and The Witch; Mexico (Sun) with $3M, besting Get Out, Insidious and Lights Out; Australia (Studiocanal) with $2.7M to eclipse Insidious and The Witch; Spain (DeAPlaneta) at $1.98M; and Korea (Challan) with $1.46M which is bigger than Insidious.
In the Netherlands, the film is Splendid’s biggest release of the year with $1.27M. There, an 80-screen simulcast premiere was the widest ever for a horror title.
Hereditary stars Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne. It centers on the Graham family, which begins to unravel following the death of their reclusive grandmother. Even after she’s gone, the matriarch still casts a dark shadow over the family — especially her loner teenage granddaughter, Charlie (Milly Shapiro), with whom she always had an unusual fascination. As an overwhelming terror takes over their household, their peaceful existence is ripped apart, forcing their mother (Collette) to explore a darker realm in order to escape the unfortunate fate they’ve inherited.
There are still a handful of markets to release. Italy and Sweden are this week and Japan goes closer to Halloween.
A24’s marketing campaign on Hereditary was heavily digital which helped it travel well and efficiently, pushing the domestic campaign across the world. The UK release was aided by Aster’s Sundance London attendance as well.
A24 has signed on for Aster’s Hereditary follow-up, another horror project that’s also produced by Knudsen and B Reel, and will likely take the same route to global distribution.