Fox Searchlight Secures Rights to Malick’s ‘Tree of Life’

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The Hollywood Reporter has announced a bit of a bombshell today revealing Fox Searchlight PIctures has just secured the rights to Terrence Malick’s long awaited Tree of Life. And despite expectations the film would debut late this year for an awards season push, the film, which stars Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain, will hit theaters some time in 2011.

Originally Apparition was set to distribute the pic, but that studio has been in disarray since Bob Berney’s departure in May.

Accompanying the announcement, Searchlight presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley said, “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.”

We also get the most precise description of the picture I’ve seen to date telling us the film tells the story of a Midwestern family in the 1950s chronicling the journey of the eldest son, Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) from childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile his complicated relationship with his father, played by Pitt.

Now there’s no telling just when Searchlight will debut the picture, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s held until May 2011 for a Cannes premiere. The studio obviously has more than enough on its plate right now.