If “Parasite” wins the Best Picture Academy Award, it will be a landmark victory for a number of reasons. One of them is for its studio, NEON.
Just 3 years in, and NEON has established itself as one of the top indie movie studios. Their first movie, “Colossal” starring Anne Hathaway, got some attention. “I, Tonya”, released at the end of 2017, skyrocketed NEON with Allison Janney’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar win. Many analysts also predicted “I, Tonya” would be a Best Picture nominee, but it missed the cut.
NEON’s momentum slowed down a little bit in 2018, with its true, sole success story the fantastic documentary “Three Identical Strangers”. But in 2019, NEON came back with a heck of a charge. Nearly all of their releases made either a major critical or financial mark – or both. They include the docs “Apollo 11”, “Honeyland”, “The Biggest Little Farm” and “Amazing Grace”, dramas “Luce”, “Clemency”, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”, “Wild Rose” and… “Parasite”.
That’s quite a lineup, with “Parasite” becoming NEON’s first Best Picture Oscar nominee. In recent years, other smaller studios have seen a boost through a Best Picture Oscar winner, including A24 for 2016’s “Moonlight”. The same went for Open Road with 2015’s “Spotlight”, but unfortunately that studio (now named Global Road) has now been absorbed, primarily as a production company – not a distributor. 2009’s “The Hurt Locker” was one of the first films that Summit Entertainment released on their own, without any assistance (and before they were bought by Lionsgate).
Even if “Parasite” doesn’t win Best Picture, I don’t see NEON going under anytime studio. Through an incredible 2019, they’ve made the industry wake up and realize they’re not only here to play… but to conquer the indie movie spectrum.
By the way, their next film (“The Lodge”) opens in select theaters on Oscar weekend.