Newly formed mini-studio STX Entertainment has closed a multi-year deal with Showtime Networks to show STX’s new slate of movies in the premium TV window. The deal kicks off this year and covers the studio’s releases through 2019, and the pics will air exclusively on Showtime’s multiplex channels including The Movie Channel and Flix.
STX was formed last year by TPG Growth, Gigi Pritzker, Hony Capital and Bob Simonds. The label, which added heavy hitters Adam Fogelson and Oren Aviv, has been working on its first slate, more details of which have been unveiled today as part of the Showtime announcement.
Showtime has been actively pursuing indie companies since losing Lionsgate, MGM and Paramount when those companies formed EPIX in 2009. The network has since added indies like Open Road Films in 2013, and indie staple The Weinstein Company has been its flagship supplier.
The first pic in the STX pact is writer-director Gary Ross’ Free State Of Jones, the fact-based drama that has Matthew McConaughey aboard to play Newton Knight, the leader of one of the greatest rebellions in Civil War history. It will be the first theatrical offering from STX and reteams Folgelson and Ross, who worked together on Seabiscuit when Fogelson was at Universal.
Other pics in the STX pipeline include a remake of the 2010 Oscar Best Foreign Language Film The Secret in Their Eyes, which begins production this month and stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts. Billy Ray wrote and is directing. Also shooting this month is an untitled, contemporary adult thriller from producers Rebecca Yeldham and Jason Blum’s Blumhouse that explores if bygones are really ever bygones. Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, and Joel Edgerton star, and Edgerton is writing and making his directorial debut.
“STX Entertainment is the first major studio to launch in two decades, and these titles reflect the start of our diverse, long-term film strategy,” said Fogelson, chairman of the STX Motion Picture Group. “We look forward to working with Matt Blank, David Nevins, Kent, Gary and the entire Showtime family as our pipeline of films finds an even broader audience on their cable and digital platforms post-theatrical.”
STX recently came aboard to finance and distribute Russ & Roger Go Beyond, about the time that soft-core porn impresario Russ Meyer and film critic Roger Ebert teamed to make 1970’s Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls. Will Ferrell is circling the role of Meyer, and there has been buzz about Josh Gad, Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill mentioned to play Ebert. A late summer start date is planned.
“We have been poring over a number of outstanding projects and creative opportunities in the last few months and we could not be more excited to be launching the STX film division with these four very distinctive motion pictures,” said Aviv, president and chief content officer for the Motion Picture Group. “Choosing these inaugural projects really came down to the exceptional quality of the screenplays as well as our confidence in our filmmakers and talent.”