After almost a year of uncertainty, Terrence Malick's long-anticipated TREE OF LIFE finally has a solid distributor and a release strategy.
According to indieWire, Fox Searchlight has acquired the rights to Malick's fifth feature from the all-but-shuttered Apparition Films. They plan to release the film at some point in 2011 - which has nothing to do with the film's quality, and everything to do with the company's promising fall slate of Mark Romanek's NEVER LET ME GO, Danny Boyle's 127 HOURS, Darren Aronofsky's BLACK SWAN and Tony Goldwyn's CONVICTION. Even if one or more of these films fail to connect with Academy voters, there's no way they'll throw money at another awards campaign this year.
Fox Searchlight Presidents Stephen Giula and Nancy Utley issued this joint statement about their acquisition: "Terrence Malick has crafted a deeply moving, keenly observed and magisterial film. 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."
The conventional wisdom seems to be that TREE OF LIFE will debut at next year's Cannes Film Festival, but I've a feeling Fox Searchlight would rather begin rolling the film out at the late summer Venice/Telluride/Toronto Film Festivals. Or maybe they'll shock us all and take it to Sundance. I just want to see the movie now-ish.