A24 sets summer releases for Sundance hit 'The Spectacular Now' and Sofia Coppola's Emma Watson starrer 'The Bling Ring'

The new distributor is building a youthful slate

<p>Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller in &quot;The Spectacular Now.&quot;</p>

Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller in "The Spectacular Now."

Credit: A24

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Independent distributor A24 may be less than a year old, but they're already building a clear brand image -- if it's stylish, name-heavy and young-skewing, they're interested.

Though they've been making their presence felt with high-profile festival purchases since last fall, but they're only just beginning to venture out into the real world. Roman Coppola's critically panned "A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III," starring Charlie Sheen and Bill Murray, was their first theatrical release three weeks ago -- it's left them much room for improvement.

That'll come in two weeks' time with the simultaneous release of Sally Potter's delightful "Ginger and Rosa," with its award-caliber lead turn by Elle Fanning -- shame about that hopeless Oscar-qualifying run last year -- and Harmony Korine's meretricious but cult-ready "Spring Breakers." Both were flashy acquisitions from last year's festival circuit, and should earn the company a healthy lick of prestige as they head into the summer.

Summer, incidentally, will be the most crucial period for A24, as it was announced today that their two highest-profile pickups to date will be released at opposite ends of the season. Sofia Coppola's "The Bling Ring," with a youthful ensemble led by Emma Watson, will hit screens on June 14. Meanwhile, acclaimed teen love story "The Spectacular Now," starring Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, is set for an August 2 bow.

The release date for the Coppola film, which seems likely to premiere at Cannes, is roughly what we were expecting. Buzz is currently quiet for the true-life crime comedy, which tells the story of a group of teenage girls who set out to burgle a series of celebrity homes -- but even if it turns out to be a gem, it sounds a little light for the pressure of a prestige fall slot.

Scheduling "The Spectacular Now" for August, however, is arguably a little surprising for a film that was one of the biggest critical and audience hits of last month's Sundance Film Festival -- where it won acting accolades for its two young leads. It means the film won't be benefiting from a second wave of festival buzz at Toronto, but it can be wise to give small, high-end items like this a little breathing room in the summer, allowing them more time to find an audience and generate word of mouth -- whether it's a future awards player or not.

Director James Ponsoldt's previous film, "Smashed," was also acclaimed at Sundance, but was buried upon release in October last year; this could be a kinder move. In any event, we should always be grateful to distributors who are willing to give us some of their good stuff earlier in the year. 

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Guy Lodge
Critic
Guy Lodge is a South African-born critic and sometime screenwriter. In addition to his work at In Contention, he is a freelance contributor to Variety, Time Out, Empire and The Guardian. He lives well beyond his means in London.
2013-2014 OSCAR NOMINATIONS
UPDATED: MARCH 2, 2014