“Only make a film you already know how to sell,” is the the rule that former Universal Pictures Chairman and current STX Entertainment honcho Adam Fogelson lives by. And so far in young history of the newest studio in Hollywood, they’ve more or less lived by that motto, but to fairly modest success. They’re released four films to date, three of which have been straight genre efforts (“The Gift,” “The Boy,” “Hardcore Henry“) while another was a starry prestige project that failed to catch fire (“Secret In Their Eyes“). Still, they haven’t had any big flops, and it looks like the company is ready to gamble, take some risks, and play with the big boys.
In what might be the biggest buy out of the Cannes Film Festival, STX has snapped up the international rights for Martin Scorsese‘s long brewing “The Irishman” for somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 million. Damn. Paramount, which put the project in turnaround, retains domestic rights, but make no mistake, this is a big power move by STX. It’s a deal that allows the company to get in the mix in the lucrative international box office, which is now more vital to studio revenues than ever.
Fábrica de Cine is set to fully finance the movie that is expected to star Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, and Harvey Keitel in the Steve Zaillian (“Gangs Of New York,” “Schindler’s List,” “Moneyball“)-penned adaptation of “I Heard You Paint Houses” by Charles Brandt. It tells the true story of Frank Sheeran, a WWII veteran who led a colorful life as a high-ranking officer in the International Brotherhood of Teamsters while also dabbling in organized crime as a highly sought-after hitman, with rumored ties to the deaths of President Kennedy and Jimmy Hoffa.
Meanwhile, STX also threw down big money — $9 million — for the domestic and Chinese rights to Aaron Sorkin‘s directorial debut “Molly’s Game.” Slated to star Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba, the adaptation of the book by Molly Bloom tells the true story of how an athlete and law student wound up running an exclusive high-stakes Hollywood poker game that, unbeknownst to her, included members of the Russian mafia.
So, some pretty big things on STX’s plate as they seem to be eager to show the rest of the industry they are much more than mid-budget, niche movies. The studio’s next release will be Matthew McConaughey‘s “Free State Of Jones” on June 24th. [Deadline/Variety]