SXSW Doomsday Thriller ‘The Divide’ Sells to Anchor Bay

Post-apocalyptic crowd-pleaser gets seven-figure distribution deal on the heels of its Austin premiere

Days after its world premiere at SXSW drew mixed reviews but an enthusiastic audience reaction, the post-apocalyptic thriller "The Divide" has sold U.S. rights to Anchor Bay in  what is reportedly a low-seven-figure deal.

Michael BiehnThe film was directed by Xavier Gens, the French director whose last theatrical feature was the 2007 20th Century Fox action film "Hitman." "The Divide," which is by all accounts considerably darker, grimmer and less commercial, stars Michael Biehn (left), Milo Ventimiglia, Rosanna Arquette and Lauren German as New Yorkers who take refuge in a basement bunker after bombs destroy most of the city.

The movie's tag line: "To survive the end of the world you must first survive each other." Reviewer Amy Curtis called the film "a brutal and intense study of the very lowest and basest of humanity" and "a brilliant look at what desperation can turn even the most civilized man into," but Jordan Hoffman wrote, "All the acting is projected to the cheap seats and the dialogue is atrocious."

Deadline, which first printed news of the acquisition, described it as "possibly" the biggest deal ever for a festival generally not known for its deals. The pickup was confirmed on Twitter by producer Ross Dinerstein and executive producer Kevin Iwashina. The Geek Tyrant website claims that several other studios were also bidding on the film.

The film's opening scene and a teaser trailer is available at BeyondHollywood.com.

The film component of SXSW ends on Saturday after what has been an unexpectedly busy festival for deals. Previously, the Conan O'Brien documentary "Conan O'Brien Can't Stop" signed a multi-platform deal for theatrical distribution via Abramorama, VOD and home entertainment via Magnolia Home Entertainment and a pre-release sneak to customers of marketing partner AT&T's U-verse service.

In other SXSW deals, IFC Midnight acquired North American rights to director Ben Wheatley's dark and violent "Kill List," which screened at the festival's SXFantastic section, while the Weinstein Company bought distribution rights to the high school football documentary "Undefeated," along with remake rights.