‘Cheap Thrills’ Film Earns First Deal At SXSW

The Cheap Thrills film deal struck in Austin on Sunday was the first movie deal of SXSW 2013, Deadline reported.

Drafthouse Films and Snoot Entertainment grabbed theatrical, home video, and video-on-demand rights, allegedly beating out Anchor Bay, Lionsgate, IFC, and Magnolia in the process.

The winning bid was for US rights and fell in the low to mid six-figure range.

Cheap Thrills is described as a “twisted comedy thriller,” Deadline notes, and follows a blue-collar family man, who is manipulated into a series of escalating bets that become increasingly dark and disturbing.

Travis Stephens of Snowfort Pictures revealed the history of the film’s development to Entertainment Weekly last week, stating the company “spent two years really working on the script so that when the real dark stuff starts happening the audience are playing along themselves and understand a bit more why the character is doing what he’s doing.”

Deadline noted that bidding wars don’t happen at SXSW too often, adding that competition for Cheap Thrills started Friday night as part of the festival’s “Midnighters” selections and raged throughout the day on Saturday, March 9.

Pat Healy takes the lead role and is joined by David Koechner, who will also be reprising his role as Champ Kind in Anchorman: The Legend Continues later this year.

(It was announced a week ago that Harrison Ford would also be joining Koechner and Will Ferrell for the highly anticipated sequel.)

E.L. Katz sat in the director’s chair for Cheap Thrills, which is his first directorial effort.

Prior to the Cheap Thrills film, Katz was known mostly for his screenwriting work with his highest profile effort the 2008 horror film Autopsy about a young woman searching for her injured boyfriend in a twisted and strange hospital.

Where does Cheap Thrills rank on your list of must-see films for 2013? (Check out the trailer below.)