EXCLUSIVE: We hear that STX Entertainment has made cuts, notably in its theatrical distribution and marketing departments in the lower-level executive tiers and down.
The news comes as STX is pivoting away from 12 theatrical releases a year and more toward a multi-tiered distribution model. It plans to make 15 films a year, with five destined for the big screen and the balance split between straight-to-streaming or international theatrically distributed PVOD or direct-to-streaming titles.
STX is reorganizing itself financially, de-merging from Eros and segueing to the Najafi Companies. There was an option on the table to have STX absorbed by Lionsgate, both library and staff — a bid STX full-out rejected, I hear, so that it can remain an independent studio. Two films were placed separately in bankruptcy under shell companies of late: Greenland 2 and the Chris Pine-Ben Foster movie The Contractor. This was a means of protecting those features so the studio can monetize them on the other side of completing its transaction with Najafi.
Many have perceived that move by STX as rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic; I hear that’s not the case and that a lot of this agita has to do with the divorce from Eros. Once STX has its house in order, it plans to re-hire in other departments.
The Contractor was sold to Showtime in a deal north of an estimated $15M. The movie received a limited theatrical release on April 1 and to date has earned $1M. The pic’s financier 30West filmed a complaint in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New Orleans asking for dismissal of the Chapter 11 case and claiming that STX failed to make $8.4M in contract payments. The bankruptcy filing automatically prohibited 30West from ending its defaulted deal with STX. 30West was seeking to end its contract and reclaim the movie.
Michael Viane, STX’s co-president of theatrical distribution recently went over to Comscore as its Head of Global Revenue. Head of theatrical distribution Kevin Grayson remains, in addition to STXfilms Chairman Adam Fogelson, Co-President and General Counsel Noah Fogelson, Production Boss Sam Brown, President of Marketing Keri Moore and President of Media and Marketing Amy Elkins among other senior-level executives.
When reached, STX provided no comment.