A24, DirecTV Acquire ‘Equals’ With Kristen Stewart (EXCLUSIVE)

Photo by Jaehyuk Lee

A24 and DirecTV have acquired U.S. rights for the sci-fi drama “Equals” starring Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult, Variety has learned.

The film, which premiered at Venice, screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. Drake Doremus, who earned critical raves for 2011’s Sundance grand-jury-prize winner “Like Crazy,” directs the picture which offers up an off-beat take on the science-fiction genre.

The deal for the film was made with DirectTV, which will first debut the picture, before it opens in select theaters via its distribution pact with indie label A24.

“Equals” tells the story of a future dystopian society where its inhabitants don’t feel any emotions, but it’s meant to double as a parable for ending a long-term relationship, Doremus explained during a question and answer session following its Toronto debut.

A24 is currently fielding the Oscar- hopeful “Room,” starring Brie Larson and scored a critical and commercial hit with the Amy Winehouse documentary “Amy.”

The deal was handled by UTA Independent Film Group.

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  1. Well says:

    I’m baffled by how many people in this comment section can’t read. The movie is going to tv first then a couple of theaters at a later date. K-Stew is not the best actress but she’s not the worst either. She’s carving out a place for herself in small movies.

  2. Brenda says:

    I am no cinephile so I do not know how to react to all the condemnations of Kristen Stewart. She has a 4 films slated for 2016 with outstanding directors: Woody Allen, Ang Lee (small role), Olivier Assayas, and Carol Reichatdt (small role). She is 25 and trying to overcome an unusual hatred for her commercially successful franchise (Twilight) and a personal scandal. Clouds of Sils Maria is 89% on Rotten Tomatoes, Still Alice is 88% and Camp X-Ray is 73%. If my memory is correct, Camp X-Ray was around 40% coming out of Sundance. Its percentage improved after its UK release and after being more widely viewed. Why the rush to condemn her in comment sections?

  3. Elison says:

    Can’t wait to see this! I’m a fan of everyone involved and this movie sounds right up my alley.

  4. alfie says:

    This could well be the future of cinema.

  5. D says:

    Per the terms of DirectTV’s overall deal with A24, they get any jointly acquired film for 30 days before it goes to theaters. So highly doubt it will get much of a cinema run, or that they paid a premium since this was acquired specifically for DirectTV’s Cinema Premiere program. Considering the reviews it got from Venice and TIFF there’s no reason to think it will do well in foreign markets – blockbusters do better in foreign markets, not poorly reviewed sci-fi love stories.

    If you understand the deal that A24 cut with DirectTV then you can see that there’s no way that there was a bidding war. That was all hype put out to create a buzz where none existed.

    There were no other premium offers, the producers never would have taken this if there were other deals on the table. In 2013 DirectTV gave A24 a $40 cash infusion in return for getting 30 day on-demand-before-in-theaters rights for 12 joint A24/DirectTV acquisitions which DTV would use to create its Cinema Exclusive Premieres program offer.

    Note that A24’s more sucessful/well reviewed movies like Ex Machina, While We’re Young and more recently Room were not joint acquisitions and weren’t/won’t be released this way; Dark Places, which was not a critical success, was jointly acquired and had VOD advance release for 30 days before its two week theater run.

    It’s a flop deal for two actors and a director who have put out nothing but flops for the past few years.

    • Guest says:

      To be fair Mad Max and Xmen weren’t flops but Nicholas Hoult wasn’t a major factor in their success either. Stewart’s heyday was Twilight. Those fans are gone and there is no evidence she’s building any significant new fan base. Her future is more in obscure French films and small supporting roles. Dormeus should go out for a major studio directing gig because this is his third financial failure. A fourth tier day and date acquisition is not good. Maybe studios were scared away because of how poorly American Ultra did.

  6. Like you shes great love her acting shes proven to the haters more then rob

  7. Ginger says:

    Drake Doremus, the director posted this tonight on Twitter, #EQUALS will most certainly be in THEATERS first:) and your love and support is key:) @A24 is gonna crush this!

  8. Sam says:

    Great! I am dying to see Equals. Some critics called the chemistry between Stewart and Hoult as strong, beautiful and palpable while others stated the movie is highly erotic without the characters even showing any skin. The photography is beautiful and the musical score won a Venice Film Festival award. I think Equals is a different type of movie.

  9. Lisa says:

    I find it very interesting when people say an actor can’t act and are no good yet follow what movies they do how they do and how much they make. When you don’t like someone you tend to not follow or give them the time of day yet here some are. I guess it is a good thing she has no idea who these people are and that they even live not to mention she still get movies and fashion designers wanting her. She is doing something right.

  10. Jaymes says:

    Kristen Stewart is an actress with a limited range who just plays some version of herself in every film. This has been pointed out by Guy Lodge on this site in his review of Anesthesia, and by other critics who are getting tired of her angsty schtick.

    All the “experience” in the world isn’t improving her ability as an actress. She comes off as a one trick pony and that particular trick is wearing very thin, especially with theater owners. They aren’t choosing to book her indies in theaters. Box office poison is not a popular brew.

  11. Kristen stewart is a amazeing actress she beautiful has more experince in aot of acting modleing i support her

  12. rain says:

    well, if A24 gets it then no one will see it. I’m sad Drake is allowing this to happen. I hope Kristen never works for him again.

  13. Drake says:

    I thought there was some big bidding war going on over this film. Was that all smoke and mirrors to try and generate some interest in a movie that’s Rotten at 40 percent on RT coming out the festivals?

    A straight to VOD release is hardly something that would generate a bidding war, is it? The reviews were brutal: “Feels cobbled together from George Orwell, “THX-1138,” “The Giver,” perfume commercials and the Apple Store. Heck, before this thing’s over, Parker even steals one of Shakespeare’s better-known end-of-Act-II plot twists.”

    • Marl says:

      Lord, you twi-hards are predictable. No one else can quote word for word quotes from reviews for small indies that you supposedly hate. Considering A24 distributed Michael Fassbender’s Slow West through directTV and art house theaters, and several other films, it’s not a bad deal for a indie with a low budget and mixed reviews

      • Dan says:

        Well Drake you just proved the above poster correct. No normal person knows minute details for some tiny indie by an actress they clearly despise.

      • Drake says:

        Wow, you sound dumb. The quote is from RottenTomatoes, no one has to try to remember anything, you can just look it up. You don’t need to be a twi-hard to be aware of such bad reviews.

        Please don’t try to compare this Equals bomb to Slow West. Equals is at 40 percent and Slow West is at 91 — they are like night and day, no comparison at all. This is a crap deal for a flop film that’s lucky to get any theater time. It won’t make a dime, just like Camp X Ray. It played in a couple of theaters and barely made $10,000 before dying on VOD. It didn’t even stay in the Top 25 on iTunes for 2 weeks. Audiences don’t flock to indies with Stewart starring in them. American Ultra was also a loser at the box office and with the critics.

    • prior says:

      Only the Hollywood Reporter website said it was a bidding war. Everybody else knew Equals was not in demand. When a movie has played multiple fests and takes this long to sell then goes direct to tv it means there is not faith in it. I bet the deal was 2 or 3 million at most. Kristin Stewart is box office poison. If you don’t believe me check out her indie record.

  14. hawk says:

    Good news, good luck Dreak&Krist&Nico good luck.

  15. anna says:

    so a small realise in select theaters ?

    • Scott says:

      “Small release” means they will show it in NY and LA for one week so that it will be eligible for awards consideration, which is kind of a joke for a film that has such bad reviews and is premiering on TV first.

      Who wants to go see it in a theater if you can just watch it on VOD in the comfort of your own living room? Neither Kristen Stewart or Nick Hoult have had successful indies, they don’t have enough charisma to attract a large enough audience to make their films profitable. Theater owners know this, hence the “small release” for Equals.

  16. Anne says:

    Looking forward to it

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