STX Films Selling Movies to Pay Off $150 Million Debt – /Film

STXfilms, which scored big box-office successes with the likes of Hustlers and Bad Moms, recently struck a streaming deal with Tubi, Fox Entertainment’s free, ad-supported service. However, the studio has $150 million in debt, so it is looking for other ways to leverage its film library. A new report indicates that it is in talks to sell off 46 titles in order to pay up.

The Wrap reports that STX’s Mumbai-based parent company, Eros STX Global Corp., made a regulatory filing with the SEC on Wednesday, entering into “an exclusive negotiation period with a third party to monetize the revenue from 46 films in its library.” But as of now, that third party is unnamed.

The studio merged with Eros, itself a Bollywood titan, in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic forced theaters to shut down and led to financial woes. One of its notable titles, the Gerard Butler disaster film, Greenland, ultimately skipped theaters and went to HBO Max, as the studio sold off distribution rights last year.

Gambling, Sometimes Successfully, on Women and Puppets

Producers Robert Simonds and Bill McGlashan founded STXfilms in 2014 at a time when Hollywood was moving away from mid-budget dramas, leaving a large gap between the slate of independent films and studio tentpoles. STX sought to fill a specific niche or need in the market, restoring the lost mid-budget tradition in movies with marquee names.

Since then, the studio has turned several films made on budgets in the $20-million range into $100-million-plus international grossers. In the U.S., it was the domestic distributor last year for Guy Ritchie’s The GentlemanYet it has also carved out an identity as a studio willing (per Forbes) “to bet on women,” with Oscar-nominated films like Molly’s Game.

Aaron Sorkin made his directorial debut with the Jessica Chastain-led crime drama, based on the life of Molly Bloom, an Olympic hopeful skier turned entrepreneur whose high-stakes poker game in L.A.’s Viper Room attracted celebrity players like Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Ben Affleck. In the movie, Michael Cera portrays Player X, a composite character, who Molly meets in the “Cobra Room.”

As Forbes notes:

By coincidence or design, [STXfilms is] the rare major distributor where most of the films are centered around “not a white guy” protagonists. Even The Gift, which was sold as a “Jason Bateman versus Joel Edgerton” domestic thriller, was (up until the divisive ending) essentially a Rebecca Hall star vehicle.

Despite Hustlers and Bad Moms each grossing over $150 million worldwide (again, working with budgets in the $20-million range), not all of STX’s investments have paid off. One commercial and critical disappointment was The Happytime Murders, starring Melissa McCarthy (and Bill Barretta as a puppet named Phil).

We’ll keep you posted on the potential STX film library sale and further puppet-related developments.

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