‘Bad Cupid,’ authored by Simsbury resident, to debut this month
By Ted Glanzer
That little script that sat in Simsbury resident Ira Frtiz’s drawer for years has turned into a movie that’s set to be released on video on demand platforms next week.
“Bad Cupid” (formerly known as “Prick’d” - more on that later), starring John Rhys-Davies (“Raiders of the Lost Ark” and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy) as the puckish mythical matchmaker, will be released on Amazon Prime and iTunes Feb. 12, just in time for Valentine’s Day weekend.
And while a darker (though humorous) spin on love might be apropos for a year that’s featured social distancing, quarantines and little human interaction, the process of getting the movie made and distributed has been a somewhat charmed one.
As reported in the February 2020 edition of Valley LIFE, Fritz, who works at ESPN’s in-house ad agency, co-wrote the script with Neal Howard and Anthony Piatek, and ultimately got the movie made in Buffalo on a shoe-string budget.
The film follows Rhys-Davies’ Archie (Cupid), who uses less-than-savory means to bring couples together. Archie focuses his attention on a lovelorn Dave (Shane Nepveu), who is trying to win back his ex-girlfriend, Denise (Christine Turturro). Archie helps Dave by kidnapping Dave’s romantic rival.
After shooting the film in Buffalo, Fritz and his team of fellow filmmakers managed to hire Jeffrey Wolf, who edited one of Fritz’s favorite comedies, 1994’s “The Ref,” which starred Denis Leary, Judy Davis and a pre-canceled Kevin Spacey.
Fritz said he wasn’t sure that Wolf was even still alive and, if he was, whether he was still active or if he’d be interested in doing the work.
“He knew how to maximize pacing and dialog do it all in a controlled situation,” Fritz said. “We put the word out, and it turned out he is still active in the business. … We sent him what we had and he signed on. The editor of ‘The Ref’ is the editor of our movie.”
Getting Wolf signed on was a coup for Fritz and co. because Wolf knew how to work not only with what he had, but with what he didn’t have as well.
“He understood,” Fritz said. “He knew doing in there would be shots he wished he had, but didn’t. He knew how he was going to cover it.”
After the film was completed, the filmmakers had to figure out how to try and release it. The pandemic narrowed the choices. A theatrical release, which was always going to be a long shot, became impossible. The festival route was also similarly blocked. There was some talk of table reads.
Ultimately they decided to try and get the film released via VOD. Fritz says there are two major players in that space: Freestyle and Gravitas.
“We knew nothing of that world, we had never played in it,” Fritz said. “But we were able to get it seen and then prepared for rejection.”
Fritz explained those services are always being inundated with content, but especially now that theaters are shut down. Some big movies are holding back on their releases, but many are going the VOD route to make some money back. It wouldn’t be a shock to see a small indie movie like “Bad Cupid” get lost in the shuffle.
The rejections, however, never came.
Instead, both platforms put in bids, with the filmmakers ultimately choosing Freestyle due to its plan to market the movie. (Fritz was quick to say that there was nothing against Gravitas, which also put in a strong bid.)
The next step was to find out what platforms would carry the film. Again, charmed life for the movie, virtually all platforms – Xfinity, iTunes, Amazon Prime and iTunes – all came back and said yes.
This all happened during the fall, with the aim for a release just before Valentine’s Day. Things don’t typically happen that quickly, Fritz said.
“It probably worked out better than we realistically imagined,” said Fritz, who spent years in Los Angeles trying to find work as a screenwriter. He has several credits to his name, including episodes for “Coach” and “The New Love Boat.” “From our previous days in Hollywood, we were not anticipating this level of success so fast.”
The movie even underwent a name change, Fritz said, for practical purposes. “Prick’d,” the original name of the movie, starts with the letter “P” People searching VOD platforms - unless they know what they’re looking for – search through menus set up alphabetically, Fritz said. “Bad Cupid” starts with the letter B and, therefore, is more likely to be seen as an option for would-be watchers.
After its VOD run, the film will be picked up by Netflix, Fritz said.
How much the streaming site pays for it depends on how many preorders the film gets on iTunes, Fritz said.
As for the future, Fritz said if the movie does well enough there are some old and new scripts he’s been working on.
“We’re very excited,” he said. “It’s been a dream come true to have this happen. The entire team is thrilled. Fingers crossed, the right people will stumble into it.”
“Bad Cupid” starting John Rhys-Davies, will be released on VOD platforms on Feb. 12.
For more information, including a trailer, visit www.badcupidmovie.com