EXCLUSIVE: STXinternational is having a killer EFM, selling out its slate with multiple bidders on choice titles. Coming into the market, it had what are among the hottest projects including The Marsh King’s Daughter and Finest Kind. Along the way, it added Killer’s Game, a coveted thriller that’s getting new life with Jason Statham negotiating to star. The company further introduced distributors to its upcoming family animation project, Ugly Dolls.
STX is producing, financing and releasing Killer’s Game domestically and in the UK, as well as handling offshore under STXinternational President David Kosse. The film is selling out with Statham a very hot property in overseas markets and particularly China. The potential there is “enormous,” says President of international sales John Friedberg.
STX has output deals in about 60%-70% of the world, but not all movies go straight through those. And buyers have been sitting up as they came into what was an uncertain Berlin, notably after the low-water mark of the AFM. “We’ve seen a real resurgence,” says Friedberg.
On Killer’s Game, there’s auction action going on in Russia, Japan and Korea which are non-output markets.
Endurance Media is also producing Killer’s Game with Steve Richards and Andrew Lazar producing. DJ Caruso is directing from a screenplay by Rand Ravich & Simon Kinberg with revisions from Peter Landesman and Kurt Wimmer. It’s based on the Jay Bonansinga novel about a hitman who’s diangnosed with a terminal illness. He takes out a hit on himself, but later learns he was misdiagnosed and has to fight off those gunning for him. Steve Barnett is exec producing.
On titles that are not financed by STX, the output partners get a first-look at an output price, which I’m told they are taking and which is fairly significant.
Finest Kind, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Ansel Elgort and Zendaya is one of those. The film is written and directed by Brian Helgeland and follows two brothers who strike a dangerous deal with a crime syndicate that draws them into the Boston underworld. Gary Foster and Russ Krasnoff are producing through Krasnoff/Foster Entertainment, along with Imperative Entertainment’s Dan Friedkin and Bradley Thomas as well as Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker, under their Nine Stories banner.
30WEST is financing with STXinternational repping overseas sales. It will also distribute directly in the UK. CAA and Endeavor Content are handling the U.S. rights. Elgort is hot coming off of last year’s Baby Driver and Zendaya is in the current Greatest Showman.
With Finest Kind and The Marsh King’s Daughter, STXinternational has two films that are well-budgeted adult thrillers which are fully financed, inspiring buyer confidence, Friedberg notes.
Marsh King’s Daughter, directed by The Imitation Game’s Morten Tyldum, stars Oscar winner Alicia Vikander and has Revenant scribe Mark L Smith on the script along with Elle Smith. Based on the Karen Dionne novel, the story follows a woman with what appears to be an ideal life. But she’s hiding a secret: her mother was kidnapped as a teen, and she was the product of the relationship between captive and tormentor. She lives for 12 years carefully controlled by her kidnapper/father, until he’s caught and sent to prison. An escape that leaves two guards dead forces her to confront her history as she becomes determined to bring down her father, who gave her all the tools she will need.
Films with kick-ass female protagonists are hot properties these days. Black Bear is producing and financing, Anonymous Content is producing. Teddy Schwarzman, Keith Redmon, Tyldum and Mark L Smith are producers. Bard Dorros of Anonymous Content and Vikander are exec producers.