STX Taking ‘Boy’ to China With Huayi

  • Already being billed as the first Hollywood-made to thriller Chinese cinemas
  • STX Entertainment has had a strong China focus since its launch in 2014
  • Chinese PE fund Hony Capital is STX’s third-largest shareholder


STX Entertainment’s psychological thriller The Boy (灵偶契约) is expected to be released to China, though a concrete date is yet to be set, according to local media reports.

Starring Lauren Cohan of The Walking Dead U.S. television series, The Boy is part of a slate of films that STX Entertainment received investment for from Huayi Brothers, China’s largest private-sector film company.

In a post to the company’s official Weibo account, Huayi Brothers said the film marks the first time a Hollywood-made thriller will hit Chinese cinema screens.

Huayi Brothers invested in STX’s entire slate in 2015 in a three-year agreement starting in 2016 for 12 to 15 projects per year. Budgets for STX film’s typically range between $20 million and $80 million.

The deal meant that Huayi Brothers would co-produce, co-finance, and retain distribution rights to the movies in greater China, as well as take a share of global revenue and profits.

Huayi is run by brothers Wang Zhongjun and Wang Zhonglei, who have made no bones about trying to establish a firm beachhead in Hollywood.

The siblings had been in play to invest $100 million to $120 million in Jeff Robinov’s Studio 8 before the deal fell through and Robinov was promised $200 million by the Fosun conglomerate instead.

Led by Robert Simonds, and co-founded by Bill McGlashan, Managing Partner of TPG Growth, STX Entertainment has had a strong China focus since its launch in 2014.

Chinese private-equity fund Hony Capital is STX Entertainment’s third-largest shareholder, and Simonds has talked about his ambition to list the company on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Simonds refers to STX’s China focus as “in the fabric of the company” and neither an “add-on or a gimmick.”

Previous STX releases that Huayi has invested in include The Gift, which did not get a cinematic release in China.

STX is currently filming action-thriller The Foreigner, which stars Jackie Chan as a former assassin taking revenge against the Irish Republican Army for the murder of his daughter.