CinemaCon: Sylvester Stallone, STX Teaming on New Movie

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In its first appearance at the Las Vegas convention, the company previewed new footage from upcoming films 'Free State of Jones' with Matthew McConaughey and coming-of-age pic 'The Edge of Seventeen.'

For the first time, STX Entertainment presented its slate of films at CinemaCon, the National Association of Theatre Owners' annual convention in Las Vegas, giving exhibitors a sneak peek at the studio's upcoming movies, including first-looks at comedy Bad Moms, coming-of-age pic The Edge of Seventeen and space romance The Space Between Us.

The Tuesday morning event was hosted by Adam Fogelson, chairman of the STX Entertainment Motion Picture Group, who surprised the audience by bringing Sylvester Stallone to the stage. He announced that STX will be working with the actor on a new project.

"It's a privilege to be part of something that's going to provide entertainment and artistic value," said Creed star Stallone, who didn't give any additional details on the project.

"We don't think we're like any other company that's been created in decades," said Fogelson, pointing out that 18 months into its existence the company has released four films: The Gift, Secret in Their Eyes, The Boy and Hardcore Henry.

STX showed new footage from Civil War drama Free State of Jones, starring Matthew McConaughey. The clip showed McConaughey's character Newton Knight, a Southerner who leads a rebellion against the Confederacy, in the heat of a battle where a young soldier under his command is shot in the chest.

Director Gary Ross, McConaughey and Gugu Mbatha-Raw took the stage in support of the film. Ross said he first found the story 10 years ago. “It just intrigued me so much. I didn’t know there was this kind of dissent in the Confederacy,” said Ross.

McConaughey ended his visit by being coaxed into doing a little "alright, alright, alright" for the audience.

STX also presented the first footage from The Space Between Us, centering on a teen from Mars (Asa Butterfield) who falls for a girl (Britt Robertson) from Earth, horror film Bye Bye Man and coming-of-age dramedy The Edge of Seventeen starring Hailee Steinfeld.

Steinfeld, Kyra Sedgwick, writer-director Kelly Fremon and producer James L. Brooks were on hand to speak about the movie, which is being compared to a modern John Hughes film.

STX also brought the stars of Bad Moms — Mila Kunis, Christina Applegate, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn and Jada Pinkett Smith — to the stage after showing new footage of the raunchy comedy.

The company, backed by, among others, TPG Capital and China's Hony Capital (with significant film financing coming from China's Huayi Bros.), plans to make 12 feature films a year.

Of course, China, the fastest-growing film market, was a major topic during the STX presentation. The company believes the aim that many studios have to “crack China” is “all shades of wrong,” said Fogelson. “How to truly and meaningfully partner with China … at STX, that’s our vision."

He pointed towards the company’s first Chinese co-production, The Foreigner, starring Jackie Chan. The first trailer showed an action-thriller about a restaurant owner (Chan) who goes on a revenge mission after his wife and daughter are killed by a bomb. Pierce Brosnan also stars.

“STX is poised to grow and built to last,” said president Sophie Watts in her opening remarks with chairman-CEO Robert Simonds.

CinemaCon opened Monday and runs through Thursday.

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