Day two of CinemaCon 2016 kicked off with a new and emerging entertainment studio presenting their inaugural presentation. STX Entertainment is a company that is only 18 months old but has already left a major impact in the film industry with films already released this year such as The Gift, The Boy, and The Secret in Their Eyes all which have done well at the box office, pulling in well over their initial medium budgets. This year they are slated to release 10 more films and 2017 will bring 12 more films from this blossoming company. During their presentation we were privileged to view exclusive footage and trailers for their upcoming films as well as a host of stars who came out to to talk about the films and give a little bit of insight into the process working with STX.
The first presenter to come out was none other than Sly himself, Sylvester Stallone who eluded to an upcoming project with the STX family but didn’t give a title or release date as they are in the very early stages of development. Another film that was mentioned in the early stages of the process is Gypsy starring the legendary Academy award-winning actress Barbara Streisand.
The biggest reveal of the presentation came next as STX previewed exclusive footage and a trailer for Free State of Jones, a Civil War biopic starring Matthew McConaughey. In the film , McConaughey plays the titular character Newt Knight, a confederate soldier turned deserter who joins forces with poor farmers and slaves to lead a rebellion against the Confederacy in the south. The exclusive scenes involved McConaughey as he helps a teenage boy who has been drafted into the Confederate army navigate through the trenches to reach a safer location only to have tragedy strike. This intense and gripping war scene was just a glimpse into the world that took director Gary Ross nearly ten to come to fruition.
STX Entertainment has prided themselves on creating a diverse lineup in their movies that caters to unique and new stories with medium budget films that are not tent-poles from larger franchises. The next film presented is a prime example of their model. Space Between Us starring Gary Oldman, Asa Butterfield, and Britt Robertson is a story of a boy born on the first ever Mars colony who returns to Earth to experience life on Earth and connect to a long distance love interest. However due to the gravity and atmosphere differences between the two planets there is little hope that he will survive on the Earth’s surface. A compelling story of life in space as well as on Earth, this film is sure to be another great installment in the budding hard science space genre.
The next trailer we were treated to was their film into the horror genre called The Bye Bye Man. With the success of their film The Boy, STX is expanding into the horror realm with this boogeyman style film that centers around a spectral creature that forces people to commit horrific crimes. Once you believe in the Bye Bye Man, you’ll never escape. Following it up was a first look at a new film that dives into the teen comedy realm but from a Millennial perspective. The Edge of Seventeen is a story of a teenage girl who doesn’t quite fit in with the same crowd as her hunky senior year brother. But after discovering her best friend has fallen in love with her brother she must branch out on her own to find her identity and try to overcome her social awkwardness. With a dynamic cast of Woody Harrelson, Hailee Steinfeld, Kyra Sedgwick and Kelly Freeman this film is poised to be this generations Sixteen Candles or Breakfast Club. The stars of the film, sans Woody Harrelson, and director James L. Brooks came out on stage to briefly talk about the film and it’s witty, sarcastic tone and finding the perfect voice for this new generation.
The next trailer in their presentation was an intense exclusive look at Jonas and Alfonso Cuaron’s new film Desierto. Cuaron, who directed the Academy award-winning Gravity utilizes the harsh elements of nature and man as a group of Mexican illegal immigrants cross the border in the harsh desert landscape of Arizona only to become hunted by a malicious border patrol vigilante. This film’s trailer is an immersive and gut wrenching look into illegal immigration and will surely be a contender for the September film slate.
STX has a broad range of films releasing in the coming months and the exclusive trailer for The Foreigner (temporary Title) looks to be an engaging entry into the action genre. Starring Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan this film centers around a father who is searching for justice after his daughter is killed in a bomb attack in London. When the British officials refuse to help him find answers he takes things into his own hands to bring his daughters killers to their demise. The Foreigner is slated to release later this year. One more film was announced during their presentation for an upcoming animated film based on the Ugly Dolls kids merchandise. Not much information was given on this upcoming film but with the wide popularity of these plush toys no doubt the film will be a success.
Rounding out the presentation was an exclusive trailer for STX Entertainments first R-rated comedy, Bad Moms. This film stars Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathyrn Hahn, Christina Applegate, and Jada Pinkett Smith who all came on stage to talk about the film and show some additional footage of this hilarious raunchy comedy. The film centers around a group of moms who are tired of trying to be perfect while juggling kids, work, and life’s struggles so they rebel against their obligations much to the chagrin of the PTA moms of their children’s school. The chemistry and dynamic between this all star female cast is so wrong in all the right ways. Bad Moms is slated for release October 6th, 2016 and the ensemble cast will be awarded the Female Stars of the Year Award at the CinemaCon awards ceremony later this week.
STX Entertainment while still a very young company in the film industry has an incredible team of talent that has created a unique and interesting line of films for this year and beyond. While other larger studios continue to create large tent-pole franchises STX is emerging as a studio for incredible ideas and stories to come to life. They are a studio to truly watch in the coming years.
Laurel Way is a writer for film, television, websites, and blogs. She is based in Phoenix, Arizona in the U.S., and has two fat cats and a loving husband. Laurel is a geek to her core and loves all things within horror, sci-fi/fantasy, and more. When she is not writing films, she is watching them, and her go-to movie snack is popcorn and Milkduds.