Matthew McConaughey, Julia Roberts, Jason Bateman Headline Projects for Showtime, STX Multiyear Deal

The premium TV window film pact also includes film starring Nicole Kidman, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Will Ferrell

Last Updated: January 20, 2015 @ 10:48 AM

Showtime Networks and the newly launched STX Entertainment have closed a multiyear deal to bring movies distributed theatrically by the latter to the former’s pay-TV channels during the so-called premium television window.

The agreement begins this year and covers releases through 2019.

Also as part of the joint announcement, STX revealed that it has begun production on its initial slate of films, including “The Free State of Jones,” which is based on the true story of a defiant Southern farmer, Newt Knight, and his armed rebellion against the Confederacy during the Civil War. That film is written, directed and produced by Gary Ross, and produced by Scott Stuber and Jon Kilik. The action epic will star Matthew McConaughey. Route One/Union Investment Partners and Vendian Entertainment are co-financing, with IM Global overseeing international distribution.

Remaking the 2010 Academy Award-winning Best Foreign Language Film, “The Secret in Their Eyes” begins production this month. The mystery movie stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts, is written and directed by Billy Ray, and is produced by Mark Johnson. STX is producing in conjunction with IM Global, with Route One/Union Investment Partners co-financing.

Also shooting this month is an untitled, contemporary adult thriller from producers Rebecca Yeldham and Jason Blum’s Blumhouse. The suspense film stars Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall and Joel Edgerton, and marks Edgerton’s writing and directorial debut. Blumhouse International, which recently partnered with Sierra/Affinity to license and service its upcoming films not being distributed by Universal Pictures International, is overseeing global sales on the untitled adult thriller. Couper Samuelson is executive producing.

Finally, Will Ferrell is attached to star in “Russ and Roger Go Beyond,” based on the true story of the unlikely collaboration between two outsiders — director Russ Meyer and his fledgling screenwriter Roger Ebert. STX is eyeing a late-summer start date for the comedy — which will feature a variety of big cameos — and is producing with Mark Amin, Cami Winikoff, David Permut and Richard Waltzer.

“As we continue to enhance our theatrical portfolio, we are delighted to have this long-term partnership with STX and look forward to bringing their robust slate of studio-level films to our networks’ subscribers,” said Kent Sevener and Gary Garfinkel, Co-Heads of Content Acquisition, Showtime Networks Inc.

“STX Entertainment is the first major studio to launch in two decades, and these titles reflect the start of our diverse, long-term film strategy,” added Adam Fogelson, chairman of the STX Motion Picture Group. “We look forward to working with Matt Blank, David Nevins, Kent, Gary and the entire SHOWTIME family as our pipeline of films finds an even broader audience on their cable and digital platforms post-theatrical.”