STX Puts Rights to ‘Greenland’ in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy to Stay in Gerard Butler Business

Film studio STX has placed a subsidiary company containing the rights to Gerard Butler’s 2020 film “Greenland” into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Variety has confirmed.

Filed February 28 in Louisiana by STX chief financial officer Noah Fogelson, the motion asks the bankruptcy court for relief in the form of time –time for STX to pay its creditors and to find the capital to co-finance and co-produce a sequel to the disaster movie, costarring “Homeland” actress Morena Baccarin.

Under the moniker FSO Jones LLC (a nod to one of STX’s first original films, Matthew McConaughey’s “Free State of Jones”), the bankruptcy filing lists the “Greenland” rights at $50 million in assets and up to $500 million in liabilities. As Variety previously reported, STX is in the midst of a sales process that includes private investment firm The Najafi Companies and, recently, suitors like Lionsgate.

“FSO Jones is the entity that owns the global distribution rights in the sequel to our film ‘Greenland’ which had tremendous success both domestically and throughout the international markets. Although pre-production of this sequel is going well, we determined that it was necessary for FSO Jones to seek bankruptcy relief to protect the value of that entity for all of our stakeholders while we continue to work toward closing our strategic alternatives for this company,” an STX spokesperson told Variety.

Insiders familiar with STX said the bankruptcy filing was a strategic move to avoid a coup from the film’s co-producer Anton, a London-based film label which helped launch “Greenland.” Two of those insiders said Anton was attempting to use STX’s ongoing sale to terminate its rights to the film, and move forward with a sequel as its sole producer.

“Anton stands on, and has always honored, the existing agreement for the ‘Greenland’ sequel. Anton never sought more than that for itself or from its counterparty,” a representative for Anton said. 

That scenario could’ve meant a big payday for Anton. “Greenland” starred Butler as a husband and father attempting to outrun a planet-killing comet. The title overperformed on PVOD amidst movie theater closures in the pandemic, earned nearly $50 million overseas, and sold streaming rights to HBO Max at a profit. A sequel, “Greenland: Migration,” was sold out of Cannes last year for a splashy $75 million with STX taking domestic distribution.

The issues surrounding “Greenland” will not affect other projects in the works, one source close to STX said, including the Jennifer Lopez crime drama “The Godmother” and Guy Ritchie’s “Operation Fortune.”

News of the Chapter 11 filing was first reported by Bloomberg Law. That report suggested the production timeline for “Greenland: Migration” was now in jeopardy, though principal photography has yet to be scheduled (one source pegged it to the end of 2022). Representatives for Butler did not immediately comment on the matter.