STX Financing, LLC (trading as STX Entertainment) is an American entertainment and media company that creates, produces, distributes, finances and markets film (STX Films), television (STX Television) and digital media (STX Digital), which includes live events and virtual reality (STX Surreal). The company was founded in 2014 by film producer Robert Simonds and Bill McGlashan, managing partner of the private equity firm TPG Growth, STX's first investor. The company is also funded by Chinese private equity firm Hony Capital; Chinese conglomerate Tencent; Hong Kong-based company PCCW; international television and broadband company Liberty Global; and individual investors including Gigi Pritzker, Beau Wrigley, and Dominic Ng. STX aims to bridge the gap between the U.S. and China, with additional partnerships around the globe (STX International) and direct distribution agreements with theaters, networks, and platforms. The company was rumored to be eyeing an initial public offering in mid-2018 that could value it at $3.5 billion USD. In April 2018, the company announced it had filed for an IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
|Founded||March 10, 2014|
|Founder||Robert Simonds |
|Headquarters||Burbank, California, United States|
In 2012, Simonds and McGlashan began conceptualizing a media company based on the idea of producing medium-budget projects with a star attached, a method that had gone out of style with Hollywood studios. The conversation led to the launch of STX Entertainment in 2014 with the mission to finance, develop, produce, market and self-distribute star-driven content around the world.
Robert Simonds serves as chairman and CEO; former Viacom Entertainment Group chief operating officer Tom McGrath serves as COO; former chief executive officer of Crest Animation Noah Fogelson is general counsel and executive vice president of corporate strategy; former Discovery Communications chief financial officer Andrew Warren serves as CFO; and former brand communications head for Condé Nast and Paramount Pictures Patricia Röckenwagner serves as chief brand officer. In September 2014, former Universal Pictures chairman Adam Fogelson was hired as chairman of the Motion Picture division, STX Films. In April 2016, David Kosse announced he would be leaving as CEO of British production company Film4 to join STX as president of STX International. Also that month, Punk'd creator Jason Goldberg signed on to run unscripted programming for STX Television.
STX's Board of Directors is composed of investors and industry veterans including Simonds, McGlashan, David Bonderman (founding partner of TPG Capital), John Zhao (CEO of Hony Capital), Gigi Pritzker (founder of MWM Studios), Janice Lee (managing director of PCCW Media Group), Tracy Cui (managing director of Hony Capital), Frank Biondi (former president and CEO of Viacom and former chairman and CEO of Universal Studios), Dominic Ng (chairman and CEO of East West Bank), Carmen Chang (chairman and head of Asia for New Enterprise Associates, and Bruce Mann (chief programming officer of Liberty Global).
STX Entertainment has multiple divisions: film (STX Films), which includes animation and family content; television (STX Television), which includes scripted and unscripted content; and digital media (STX Digital), which includes live events and virtual reality (STX Surreal); along with an international partnership and distribution arm headquartered in London (STX International).
At launch, the film division of STX focused its efforts on creating a new model. Rather than pursuing the traditional distribution process, the company secured direct distribution agreements with North American theater chains AMC, Regal, Cinemark, Goodrich, Marcus Theatres and Carmike Cinemas. In early 2015, the company signed a multiyear television output agreement to release films exclusively to Showtime Networks and its channels Showtime, The Movie Channel and Flix, during the premium television window. The deal covers STX Films theatrical releases through 2019. In April 2015, the company entered into a multiyear partnership with Universal Studios Home Entertainment for Universal to handle marketing, sales and distribution services for Blu-ray, DVD and VOD platforms for STXfilms theatrical titles in North America. That same month, STX Films closed a three-year slate deal with Huayi Brothers, one of China's largest film studios, enabling the companies to co-produce and co-distribute 12 to 15 films annually. In January 2017, STX Films signed a three-year marketing and distribution agreement with Luc Besson's EuropaCorp Films USA to release their upcoming slate of films in the US. In February 2018, STX Films announced it will distribute Netflix and Martin Scorsese's mob drama The Irishman in China along with Media Asia Entertainment Group.
In line with its mission to make medium-budget, star-driven content, STX Films projects have included Bad Moms starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Christina Applegate; Molly's Game, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin and starring Jessica Chastain; The Gift, written, co-produced and directed by Joel Edgerton and starring Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall; The Edge of Seventeen starring Hailee Steinfeld; The Foreigner starring Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan; Secret in Their Eyes starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts; The Boy starring Lauren Cohan; and Free State of Jones starring Matthew McConaughey. In 2015, STXfilms acquired its first feature at the Toronto International Film Festival, purchasing the worldwide rights to the sci-fi, action adventure Hardcore Henry for $10 million USD. In 2017, STXfilms announced the following projects: I Feel Pretty with Amy Schumer; Gringo with Amazon Studios, starring Charlize Theron; The Happytime Murders with Melissa McCarthy; an untitled romantic comedy developed by and starring Anne Hathaway; and Second Act, a romantic comedy starring Jennifer Lopez and directed by Peter Segal.
In 2017, STX Films announced its expansion into animation and family content with a partnership with the Uglydoll brand, a line of plush characters created by David Horvath. The UglyDolls film will be produced by Robert Rodriguez, director of the Spy Kids film franchise, and will feature the voice of Pitbull. In 2018, Hasbro was named as the master toy licensee for the franchise.
In January 2018, STX Films and Tencent Pictures announced a co-development deal with Jason Statham targeting the Chinese film market. Statham starred in Furious 7 and The Fate of the Furious, China's two highest-grossing imported films ever. In February 2018, STX Films signed a deal with Alibaba Pictures to co-develop and co-produce the action-sci-fi film Steel Soldiers. Under the deal, STX Films will handle US and international distribution with Alibaba Pictures retaining rights in Greater China.
Awards and recognitionEdit
In 2016, STX Films became the fastest studio ever to hit $100 million at the domestic box office with the R-rated comedy Bad Moms. The film has earned more than $180 million USD worldwide, was the first R-rated comedy since The Hangover to get an A on CinemaScore and was the most profitable film of the year (by net profit). The film also earned a People's Choice Award for Best Comedy. The 2017 American crime drama Molly's Game was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay along with BAFTA, WGA, and Golden Globe nominations. The Edge of Seventeen was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for Movie of the Year, a Directors Guild Award for Outstanding Achievement in a First-Time Feature and a Golden Globe Award for Hailee Steinfeld. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 95%.
Genre films have also received recognition. The psychological horror-thriller The Gift was nominated for a Directors Guild Award for Outstanding Achievement in a First-Time Feature and won a Sitges Film Festival and Fangoria Chainsaw Award. The Space Between Us starring Gary Oldman was nominated for Choice Sci-Fi Movie and Choice Sci-Fi Movie Actor at the 2017 Teen Choice Awards. The horror thriller The Bye Bye Man overperformed industry expectations with a $13.5 million USD domestic opening weekend. The Foreigner, a co-production with Jackie Chan's Sparkle Roll Media, crossed $100 million in global box office revenue in October 2017. The film is one of the most successful U.S. and China co-productions, being classified as "a clear winner given that it cost just $35 million" and "a fine example of how a Chinese co-production can work."
The television division's first project was the 2014 drama-thriller State of Affairs, starring Katherine Heigl and Alfre Woodard. The 13-episode series was developed by STXtelevision and sold to NBC. In 2015, STX Television produced the NBC pilot Problem Child, based on the 1990 film of the same name.
In April 2016, STX Television expanded into unscripted and reality content, hiring veteran TV producer Jason Goldberg. A few months later, the variety show Number One Surprise launched, which was the first TV series created by a US-based company specifically for broadcast in China. The series premiere in November 2016 on Hunan TV, a Chinese TV station, along with digital platforms Mango TV and PPTV, was viewed nearly 300 million times, and by January 2017 it was the #1 show in China with over 1 billion views.
In May 2017, STX Television announced it had acquired the first TV project from Kevin Kwan, author of Crazy Rich Asians. In July 2017, E! greenlit the reality series The Platinum Life, to be produced by STX Television and Tower 2 Productions. In November 2017, STX Television announced its first scripted show Valley of the Boom, a docudrama about the 1990s tech boom from showrunner and director Matthew Carnahan and executive producer Arianna Huffington. The show is set to air on NatGeo, with STX to distribute in China. STX Television produced season 23 of True Life, which aired on MTV in 2017. The company also produced the docuseries A Little Too Farr, following American country singer-songwriter Tyler Farr, which premiered on Verizon's go90 streaming service. In February 2018, Fox and STX Television announced that it is developing an unscripted series based on its film Bad Moms. In April 2018, Mother Media Group, founded by former Endemol Shine and 20th Century Fox executives, signed a first-look deal with STX Television. Under the pact, the companies will collaborate to create, produce and distribute unscripted and hybrid series.
The digital division of STX Entertainment focuses on digital programming, partnerships and distribution, which includes live events and virtual reality (VR). In August 2016, STX acquired the VR creator and distributor Surreal, renaming it STXsurreal. Founded in 2015, in its first year, Surreal produced over 70 immersive VR experiences featuring Gordon Ramsay, Snoop Dogg, Jon Hamm, Jimmy Kimmel, Wolfgang Puck and Wiz Khalifa, among others.
In 2017, STX Surreal was nominated for an interactive Daytime Emmy Award for the Nickelodeon short Nickelodeon's Ultimate Halloween Haunted House 360 Challenge and won a Shorty Award for Best Use of 360 Video for their 360° production of the 68th Emmy Awards, in collaboration with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and Facebook. In June 2017, STX Surreal announced a partnership with media services agency Horizon Media to develop and produce VR and immersive content for the brand’s new UNCVR unit. In 2018, STX Surreal announced a slate of original projects including The Limit, a live-action, short-form series from Robert Rodriguez and starring Michelle Rodriguez; New Tricks, directed and produced by Ed Helms; The Kiev Exchange, a spin-off of STX Films' Mile 22; Jay and Silent Bob VR, written, produced, and directed by Kevin Smith; and untitled projects from Dave Bautista and Derek Kolstad.
In December 2017, under a new pact with Dick Clark Productions (dcp), STX Digital acquired the exclusive Chinese distribution rights to Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest, along with the Chinese distribution rights to the 2018 Golden Globes broadcast from dcp and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. STX Digital and Tencent partnered to broadcast both shows on Tencent Video, an ad-supported and subscription streaming-video service. In January 2018, STX Digital and Tencent announced they would also co-produce a live Chinese-language Golden Globes red carpet pre-show, to air live with the telecast.
In April 2016, a dedicated international division (STX International) opened to further expand global production and distribution capabilities. Headquartered in London, the division is led by former Film4 head David Kosse. The division launched with a slate of six films that included Andy Serkis's directorial debut Breathe (which opened the 2017 London Film Festival), Home Again starring Reese Witherspoon, and the thriller Wind River starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen. Additional titles on the STX International slate include Ridley Scott's All the Money in the World, Morten Tyldum's thriller The Marsh King's Daughter and Bart Layton's heist genre American Animals, along with titles from the main STX Films slate.
In September 2017, it was reported that STX may be close to an initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (SEHK). While based in the US, the company has numerous corporate and business relationships with China, and it has been reported that a listing on the SEHK could make it easier for Chinese companies to invest in Hollywood films. STX was valued at $1.5 billion in 2016. In September 2017, the Wall Street Journal stated that the company could be valued at $3.5 billion after raising an additional $500 million following the IPO. In April 2018, the company announced it had filed for IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. J. P. Morgan & Co. and Goldman Sachs are STX's sponsors for the IPO.
Television and digitalEdit
|State of Affairs||NBC||2014-2015||Co-produced with Universal Television, Abishag Productions, and Aardwolf Productions|
|True Life||MTV||August 15, 2016||Co-produced the episode True Life: We Are Orlando|
|Number One Surprise||Hunan TV
|2016–present||Co-produced with XG Entertainment|
|A Little Too Farr||go90||2017–present||Co-produced with Tower 2 Productions|
|The Platinum Life||E!|
|Valley of the Boom||National Geographic||November 1, 2018||Co-produced with National Geographic|
|75th Golden Globe Awards Red Carpet Show||Tencent Video||January 7, 2018||Co-produced with Tencent|
|Alex Strangelove||Netflix||June 8, 2018||Originally meant to be distributed by STX, but ended up producing the film.|
|Jay and Silent Bob VR||STX Surreal||Summer 2018||Co-production with View Askew Productions|
|Untitled Dave Bautista Series |
|Untitled Derek Kolstad Project |
|New Tricks ||Co-production with Pacific Electric Picture Co.|
|The Limit |
|The Kiev Exchange ||Co-production with Film 44 and Film 45|
|Problem Child||NBC||TBA||Co-produced with Imagine TV and NBCUniversal; Pilot ordered in 2015|
|Untitled Kevin Kwan and David Sangalli Scripted Series||TBA|
|Untitled The Edge of Seventeen spinoff||YouTube Premium|
|Untitled Ugly Dolls animated series||Hulu|
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- 68th Emmys 360, Shorty Awards, 2017.
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