Founded in 2014 by Robert Simonds and Bill McGlashan, STX Entertainment produces, finances, markets and distributes mid-budget films of all genres, as well as TV, live events, and VR. In July 2020, STX completed its merger with Indian studio Eros International. Known for wide-release original films with famous stars attached, some notable STX films of the past few years include The Gift (2015), Edge of Seventeen (2016), Molly’s Game (2018) and Hustlers (2019). The studio has not released many LGBTQ-inclusive movies since its founding, but there is potential for real growth in this aspect.
Widest Theatrical Release: 2165 theaters
Vito Russo Test: Pass
This crime comedy follows a kingpin who plans to retire and sell his drug empire, and the group of drug dealers and criminals in London who are all scheming to take over. Fletcher, an opportunistic and conniving private investigator, is hired by the tabloids to find out more about the kingpin’s business and his ties to the aristocracy. Fletcher then becomes the film’s narrator; he has packaged his findings into a screenplay that he intends to either use for blackmail against the kingpin or to sell to a studio. While many reviews of the film rightfully called out the overt racism and anti-Semitism of the film, particularly in Fletcher’s narration, not as many called attention to the homophobia in the film and tired cliches about gay men. Fletcher is painted as a predatory gay man; his queerness is primarily used as comic relief as he flirts with the henchman he is blackmailing. The film’s ending implies that Fletcher is going to be killed by the man as he gets in a cab and realizes the henchman is the driver.
Hollywood has a long history of making queer-coded and gay characters the villain of a story. Though none of the characters of this film are good guys, the repeated gags around Fletcher and the choice to make a direct connection between Fletcher’s being gay and his criminal or bad actions felt like something out of an earlier decade. While it is possible to create a well-crafted, interesting and engaging story where a queer character is a villain, this particular story would have been better eliminated entirely.
Though there have not been many new projects currently slated from the company publicly, STX has an opportunity to continue to make films that include nuanced and interesting LGBTQ characters that reach a wide audience. One of the projects the studio has in the works is Bad Moms’ Moms, a film that follows the mothers of the mothers of the Bad Moms films. In the original Bad Moms, Carla was portrayed as bisexual, though the storyline left something to be desired as it fell into outdated tropes and stereotypes about bi people. Ideally, in this sequel, Carla’s character and her queer identity could be better developed and fleshed out.