Veteran distribution executive Andy Leyshon has joined STX Entertainment as U.K. managing director of STX’s international division.
The hire was announced Friday by David Kosse, president of STX International. Two-year-old STX hired Kosse in April to launch the division as part of a strategy to expand distribution of its content.
Leyshon will oversee sales and distribution of STX content by identifying opportunities, securing partnerships, and maintaining relationships with distributors in the U.K., and overseeing the theatrical and multi-platform release of STX films.
“I’ve known and worked with Andy for 15 years across two companies,” said Kosse. “He has great taste and a fantastic knowledge of the U.K. market, and he knows how to handle all types of films. I’m tremendously excited that he is joining us and helping build our new distribution business here in London.”
Leyshon’s first initiative will be overseeing sales and distribution of an untitled action-comedy directed by Nash Edgerton and co-financed by STX and Amazon Studios. STX launched international sales at Cannes on the film, which stars David Oyelowo, Joel Edgerton, Amanda Seyfried, Charlize Theron, Thandie Newton, Yul Vazquez, and Sharlto Copley.
Like Kosse and STX Motion Picture Group Chairman Adam Fogelson, Leyshon is a longtime Universal executive. He joins STX from Universal Pictures U.K., where he served as head of sales for the U.K. and Ireland. Leyshon had been sales director for Universal Pictures U.K. & Eire since 2006.
He has planned the releases of more than 230 movies, including 52 films that debuted at No. 1 in the U.K., including “Jurassic World,” “Mamma Mia,” and “Les Miserables,” in addition to the “Fast & Furious” and “Despicable Me” franchises.
STX — founded by producer Robert Simonds — has released six films so far. The horror films “The Gift,” which topped $43 million domestically, and “The Boy,” with $35 million, are its top performers thus far. A remake of “The Secret in Their Eyes” and Matthew McConaughey’s “Free State of Jones” both disappointed with $20 million each, but its comedy “Bad Moms,” starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn, has performed well with $36 million in its first week.
It’s also releasing interplanetary adventure “The Space Between Us,” starring Gary Oldman, Carla Gugino, Asa Butterfield, and Britt Robertson; and the upcoming horror film “Bye Bye Man.”