Fox Searchlight Will Distribute Terrence Malick’s THE TREE OF LIFE in 2011

     September 9, 2010

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Fox Searchlight has picked up Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life for a 2011 release.  The film was stuck in limbo due to problems with original distributor Apparition.  While it was thought/hoped that the film would be released this year in time for Oscar season, it doesn’t look like we’ll see the film until at least Cannes if Fox Searchlight wants to put Tree of Life in the 2011 Oscar race.

Per the press release, “The Tree of Life is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950’s chronicling the journey of the eldest son, Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn), through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years – trying to reconcile the complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt).  Jack finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith.”  Hit the jump to read the full press release.

fox_searchlight_logo_01Here’s the press release:

FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES ACQUIRES TERRENCE MALICK’S “THE TREE OF LIFE”

Specialty Arm Acquires U.S. Rights from River Road Entertainment

LOS ANGELES, CA September 9, 2010 – Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley announced today that the company has acquired U.S. rights from River Road Entertainment to the epic drama THE TREE OF LIFE.  Written and directed by Terrence Malick, THE TREE OF LIFE stars Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain.  The film was produced by Bill Pohlad, Sarah Green, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, and Grant Hill.  Fox Searchlight Pictures will release the film in 2011.

“Terrence Malick has crafted a deeply moving, keenly observed and magisterial film,” said Utley and Gilula.  “Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and the entire cast’s performances are simply amazing.  This is a signature film by a signature filmmaker and we are proud to be releasing it.”

“Terry Malick has given us another masterpiece that is both profoundly moving and stunningly beautiful,” said Pohlad. “And there is no better partner than Fox Searchlight to bring this film to audiences. Their ability to distribute and market independent films with a passion and creativity is incredibly rare in our industry.”

From the acclaimed director of such classic films as BADLANDS, THE THIN RED LINE and DAYS OF HEAVEN, THE TREE OF LIFE is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950’s chronicling the journey of the eldest son, Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn), through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years – trying to reconcile the complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt).  Jack finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith.

The deal was brokered on Fox Searchlight’s side by Executive Vice President of Worldwide Acquisitions Tony Safford and Senior Vice President of Business Affairs Megan O’Brien.  Mitch Horwits, President of River Road Entertainment negotiated on behalf of the company.

Fox Searchlight Pictures is a specialty film company that both finances and acquires motion pictures.  It has its own marketing and distribution operations, and its films are distributed internationally by Twentieth Century Fox.  Fox Searchlight Pictures is a unit of Fox Filmed Entertainment, a unit of Fox Entertainment Group.

River Road Entertainment is one of the leading independent production companies known for developing, producing and financing unconventional feature films and documentaries that astonish, inspire, reveal and provoke. The company’s pictures include Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, Sean Penn’s Into the Wild, and the upcoming Fair Game, starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn with Doug Liman directing.

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