STX Previews Female-Fronted Features, R-Rated Puppets at CinemaCon

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Jennifer Garner and Adam Fogelson at CinemaCon

Jennifer Lopez's return to rom-coms and Jennifer Garner as a vigilante were touted at the studio's Las Vegas presentation.

Melissa McCarthy and a group of puppets that would very likely be rejected from Sesame Street elicited a big response during STX's CinemaCon presentation on Tuesday.

The very R-rated trailer for The Happytime Murders featured graphic puppet sex and McCarthy snorting ecstasy through a piece of licorice, as well as copious amounts of puppet homicides. Brian Henson (son of Jim) directed the movie that centers on a foul-mouthed cop (McCarthy) and her puppet partner who are tasked with uncovering the identify of a serial killer targeting puppets. 

The text in the trailer warned, “No Sesame. All Street.”

The Happytime Murders, out Aug. 17, closed out STX's presentation at CinemaCon, where chairman Adam Fogelson used his time onstage in Las Vegas to tout his studio’s female-fronted projects featuring A-list talent like Jennifer Garner, McCarthy and Jennifer Lopez. 

Shailene Woodley’s survival thriller Adrift kicked off the presentation. The film centers on a couple lost at sea and was shot mostly out on open water. “It’s not every day you read about these stories, and it’s not every day that you get to witness these stories,” said Woodley, who was onstage with her co-star Sam Claflin.

A first look for Garner's Peppermint saw the actress as a mom turned vigilante, who hunts down the cartel members that murdered her husband and daughter and then sets her sights on the police and lawyers that failed to put away the killers in the first place. “To do action for the sake of action has never interested me, but this script was so smart,” said Garner, comparing her experience on Peppermint to her beloved TV series Alias.

Next up for STX was Second Act, which sees J.Lo returning to her rom-com roots. “Screw 'em. Educated people in their fancy house that name their kids after fruit,” says Lopez’s Maya in the first look from the film that follows a big box store employee who unexpectedly finds herself in a high-powered job thanks to a fabricated internet presence. 

STX made their first CinemaCon presentation in 2016. This year, Fogelson spoke at length about STX entering “phase two” of their film production with a focus on “stars in signature roles.”