U.K. Rights to the Tree of Life Acquired by Fox Searchlight from River Road Ent

HollywoodNews.com: Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula announced today that the company has acquired U.K. 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 and won the Palme d’Or at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

The film was produced by Sarah Green, Bill Pohlad, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, and Grant Hill. Fox Searchlight Pictures will release the film July 8, 2011 throughout the United Kingdom. THE TREE OF LIFE grossed an opening weekend per theatre average of $93,230 in the U.S., a Fox Searchlight Pictures record, surpassing last year’s hit BLACK SWAN average of $80,212. The film opened exclusively in eight additional markets in its week two expansion with a per theatre average of $30,915 with twelve additional markets slated to open this week.

“We knew this was an amazing film from the moment we saw it,” said Gilula and Utley. “Based on the hugely successful opening in the United States, we couldn’t be more thrilled to be releasing this film in the United Kingdom.”

“Fox Searchlight has been an extraordinary partner distributing our film in the United States,” said Pohlad. “So we’re thrilled to have them release THE TREE OF LIFE in the United Kingdom, allowing international audiences to experience Terry’s beautiful and affecting masterpiece.”

From director Terrence Malick (BADLANDS, DAYS OF HEAVEN, THE THIN RED LINE, THE NEW WORLD) comes a thought provoking film experience. His fifth film, THE TREE OF LIFE, is a hymn to life, excavating answers to the most haunting and personal human questions through a kaleidoscope of the intimate and the cosmic, from the raw emotions of a family in a small Texas town to the wildest, infinite edges of space and time, from a boy’s loss of innocence to a man’s transforming encounters with awe, wonder and transcendence.

An impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950’s, the film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith. Through Malick’s signature imagery, we see how both brute nature and spiritual grace shape not only our lives as individuals and families, but all life.

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 distinguished feature films and documentaries that astonish, inspire, reveal and provoke. River Road produced Terrence Malick’s critically acclaimed feature, THE TREE OF LIFE, starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain, which won the Palme d’Or at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. Other recent releases include Doug Liman’s FAIR GAME starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts, and Robbie Kenner’s FOOD, INC. Originally formed by Bill Pohlad in 1987, the company’s previous pictures include Ang Lee’s BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN and Lust/Caution, Sean Penn’s INTO THE WILD, and Robert Altman’s A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION.

Photo by 20th Century FOX

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One Comment

  • June 8, 2011 | Permalink |

    Make no mistake Fair Game is starring in the order of (the perpetual slightable and snubable) Naomi Watts and Sean Penn.

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