'Hypnotic': Robert Rodriguez's Thriller With Ben Affleck Gets A May 12 Theatrical Release After Buzzy "Work In Progress" Screening At SXSW

Air,” the first film from Ben Affleck and Matt Damon‘s Artist Equity banner, closes SXSW in Austin this year to much anticipation. Will critics love the Phil Knight biopic and launch AE as a new production studio of note? Make no mistake, “Air” is pretty buzzy heading into its world premiere, but buzz means nothing after the movie finally meets critics.  

READ MORE: ‘Hypnotic’ Review: Robert Rodriguez & Ben Affleck Team For An ‘Inception’-Ish Nolan-Like Thriller [SXSW]

But while Affleck waits for the critical response to his latest directorial effort, he has the positive of another upcoming movie of his to tide him over. Deadline reports that a “work in progress” screening of Robert Rodriguez‘s upcoming thriller “Hypnotic,” starring Affleck, did well with its crowd earlier this week. It did so well, in fact, that distributer Ketchup Entertainment now has it slated for a May 12 theatrical release. And that’s without the film even being complete yet.

It’s a little strange for an unfinished film to get a screening at a major festival, right? Well, Rodriguez is a Texas native, and the direct faced what he calls “otherworldly” issues while making “Hypnotic.” Rodriguez had to halt production on the feature three times, deal with an insurance lawsuit, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the movie’s main financier crumbling. That’s a lot of strife for one movie, especially one Rodriguez has wanted to make for almost two decades. And thanks to those challenges, post-production for “Hypnotic” has lasted two years.  

But an imminent theatrical release, plus exclusive streaming rights on Peacock afterward, bodes well for “Hypnotic.” Affleck stars in the film as a detective who teams up with a psychic to investigate reality-bending crimes related to his daughter’s disappearance. How many rabbit holes may one man tumble down? The film also stars Alice BragaJD PardoHala FinleyDay OkeniyiJeff FaheyJackie Earle Haley, and William Fichtner. It’s the first film from Rodriguez since his 2021 Billie Eilish concert film “Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter To Los Angeles.”

While Ketchup releases “Hypnotic” stateside, the film’s international buyers play a big role in finishing the film, and they’re a little worried about the movie’s current state. But the apparent positive consensus response from its SXSW screening should soothe their worries. And Rodriguez sounds confident about “Hypnotic,” too. “I’ve been working on this film for many years now, and to see the reaction from my home town audience at SXSW was humbling and validating,” said the director. “I look forward to now sharing it with all movie lovers who want to experience a crazy fun ride full of unexpected twists and turns.”

A Mother’s Day weekend theatrical release also expresses high hopes for “Hypnotic.” So will it be an early Spring sleeper hit, or are the film’s post-production woes a portentous sign of disaster? Everyone finds out in a couple of months.