Kevin Smith’s Sundance horror “Red State” goes to … Kevin Smith?

By Sean O’Connell “It’s a bait and switch. He never intended to sell the movie.”

So writes HitFix’s Drew McWeeny about Kevin Smith’s “Red State,” which was supposed to auction its distribution rights immediately after its Sundance premiere on Sunday night but, instead, will be released via Smith’s own Smodcast Pictures on Oct. 19. Prior to the release, Smith will take the show on the road beginning with New York screenings in March.

Smith, fed up with the normal “process” tied to a film’s release, had been promoting the live auction for weeks on his Twitter feed. The hype (as well as a complete lack of press screenings for “State”) led to a minor frenzy around the Sunday evening screening.

“Harvey Weinstein is in attendance for the Red State screening #obvious,” tweets slashfilm’s Peter Sciretta.

Around 8:25 p.m. MT, reaction started hitting.

“I gotta hand it to @ThatKevinSmith. RED STATE pulled the rug out from under me about 5 times. Ha ha, weird, imaginative madness. #Sundance,” said Anthony Breznican.

“Action and bloodshed as generic as it comes, typical talky Kevin Smith dialogue kills all tension and energy,” said Cinema Blend’s Katey Rich.

“It’s nice to contemplate how Kevin Smith wants to make films that aren’t comedies. Too bad he tried to make all of them at once,” James Rocchi writes.

And then, the Kevin Smith lecture started.

“He’s giving a fairly heartfelt speech after the movie, saying he had to come back after making Cop Out to save face,” ComingSoon tweeted.

In the end, Smith revealed his plans NOT to sell the rights, but to distribute “Red State” on his own.

“I was not angry at Kevin Smith. Now? Now I am. Liar,” McWeeny denounced.

But was it worth it?

ComingSoon sums it up. “The bottom line was that way too big a deal was made out of this movie… it’s not great, it’s not terrible….”

For those who can’t wait until “Red State” hits theaters, Smith teased the end card for his film on Twitter … which, itself, is a commercial for both his next film – a hockey comedy titled “Hit Somebody” – and the filmmakers podcast series, Smodcast.

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