Studio newcomer STX Entertainment premiered its first feature film, Joel Edgerton’s directorial debut “The Gift,” at L.A. Live on Thursday. In the film, which was also penned by the Aussie actor, an old grudge compels a high school loner to seek vengeance on a former classmate.
The takeaway: Bullying the smaller kid in school can come back to haunt you, so it’s best to be nice to them — (cough, cough) that means you, major Hollywood studios.
“It’s not that we necessarily wanted a film like ‘The Gift’ to be the first. It’s that the first great opportunity we had was ‘The Gift,'” assured Adam Fogelson, STX motion picture group chairman.
Variety’s Scott Foundas described the film in his review as “a coolly unsettling thriller that begins as an unironic homage to late-’80s/early-’90s yuppies-in-peril dramas like ‘Fatal Attraction’ and ‘The Hand That Rocks the Cradle.'”
“We haven’t seen a movie with this sort of tone in a while. I’m excited not to follow the herd and go a little bit against the grain,” said Edgerton.
Although it’s not a horror film, scream expert Blumhouse Productions was the best choice to make the feature at a “responsible price,” according to Fogelson.
“I think the adult thriller got too expensive in the early 2000s, and it fell out of fashion,” said Jason Blum. “Adult thrillers have really moved to television; there aren’t a lot of movies… but we have a few more in the pipeline, so I’m excited about that.”
Although the next pictures STX Entertainment’s has set for release are two thrillers, a horror film and an action-drama, Fogelson said that the company is not restricted to any particular genre or set of genres; he revealed that comedies will be among the next batch of films from the company.
“We’re not looking to make any one particular type of film,” he said. “We’re simply looking for films that we believe can be great, that we know we can sell and that we think have a rational business plan.”
Fogelson, Edgerton and Blum said a few words to mark the occasion before screening and the STX slate was projected on the screen, garnering huge applause from the audience.
The celebratory evening continued with drinks and a gourmet spread atop the event deck at L.A. Live. Guests stood in line to take yearbook photos, which placed them with the younger version of Edgerton and Jason Bateman. Also in attendance were pic’s Rebecca Hall, Tyrese, Kiernan Shipka, STX’s Robert Simonds, Sophie Watts, Oren Aviv and Cathy Schulman, and producer Rebecca Yeldham.
As the final touch of the evening, guests were greeted with a gift underneath the windshield of their vehicle from the film’s most unsettling character, named Gordo the weirdo.
— Mannie (@MannieSheWrote) July 31, 2015
Go inside last night's #TheGift premiere party on Snapchat with Variety's @mannieholmes_. Follow mannie.variety on Snapchat.
— Variety (@Variety) July 31, 2015
(Pictured: Sophie Watts, Rebecca Yeldham, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton, Jason Bateman and Robert Simonds at “The Gift” after-party)