Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: First Trailer For Gillian Flynn's 'Dark Places' Starring Charlize Theron, Chloë Moretz, And Nicholas Hoult Watch: First Trailer For Gillian Flynn's 'Dark Places' Starring Charlize Theron, Chloë Moretz, And Nicholas Hoult Review: Neill Blomkamp's 'Chappie,' Starring Die Antwoord, Dev Patel, Sigourney Weaver And Hugh Jackman Review: Neill Blomkamp's 'Chappie,' Starring Die Antwoord, Dev Patel, Sigourney Weaver And Hugh Jackman 'Chappie' Actor Admits There Was "Tension" On Set With Die Antwoord's Ninja; Check Out Two New Featurettes 'Chappie' Actor Admits There Was "Tension" On Set With Die Antwoord's Ninja; Check Out Two New Featurettes Premature Oscar Predictions: The 2016 Best Actor Contenders Premature Oscar Predictions: The 2016 Best Actor Contenders 2015 Tribeca Film Festival Line-Up Announced: James Franco’s ‘Adderall Diaries,’ Olivia Wilde In ‘Meadowland’ & More 2015 Tribeca Film Festival Line-Up Announced: James Franco’s ‘Adderall Diaries,’ Olivia Wilde In ‘Meadowland’ & More First Look: Joseph Gordon-Levitt As Edward Snowden In Oliver Stone's 'Snowden' First Look: Joseph Gordon-Levitt As Edward Snowden In Oliver Stone's 'Snowden' Drew Goddard To Write And Direct Sony & Marvel's 'The Spectacular Spider-Man'; 'Sinister Six' Scrapped Drew Goddard To Write And Direct Sony & Marvel's 'The Spectacular Spider-Man'; 'Sinister Six' Scrapped Premature Oscar Predictions: The 2016 Best Picture Contenders Premature Oscar Predictions: The 2016 Best Picture Contenders Watch: Original Short Film Version Of 'Whiplash' Starring Oscar Winner J.K. Simmons Watch: Original Short Film Version Of 'Whiplash' Starring Oscar Winner J.K. Simmons Watch: Nifty Video Examines David Fincher’s Subtle Repetition Of Framing And Blocking In 'Gone Girl' Watch: Nifty Video Examines David Fincher’s Subtle Repetition Of Framing And Blocking In 'Gone Girl' Sigourney Weaver Says She'll Be Playing A New Character In The 'Avatar' Sequels Sigourney Weaver Says She'll Be Playing A New Character In The 'Avatar' Sequels Kristen Stewart Joins Kelly Reichardt’s Untitled Montana Drama With Michelle Williams & More Kristen Stewart Joins Kelly Reichardt’s Untitled Montana Drama With Michelle Williams & More 'Prisoners' & 'Enemy' Director Denis Villeneuve To Helm 'Blade Runner' Sequel, Harrison Ford Confirmed To Return 'Prisoners' & 'Enemy' Director Denis Villeneuve To Helm 'Blade Runner' Sequel, Harrison Ford Confirmed To Return The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far "I F*cked It Up": Neill Blomkamp Says He Wants To Go Back To 'Elysium' And "Do It Correctly" "I F*cked It Up": Neill Blomkamp Says He Wants To Go Back To 'Elysium' And "Do It Correctly" The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki

Another Twist In 'The Tree Of Life' U.K. Release Saga As Legal Battle Kicks Off

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist April 1, 2011 at 12:57PM

A brief addendum to our piece yesterday on the story behind the surprise announcement of a U.K. release of Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" before its mooted Cannes debut -- and it's another twist in what's turned out to be one of the more interesting behind-the-scenes business stories of the year. Icon Film Distribution Ltd, who've been set to distribute the film in the U.K. for some time, announced a May 4th release at the start of the week, something firmly denied by the film's U.S. distributors Fox Searchlight, and others close to the film.
4


A brief addendum to our piece yesterday on the story behind the surprise announcement of a U.K. release of Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" before its mooted Cannes debut -- and it's another twist in what's turned out to be one of the more interesting behind-the-scenes business stories of the year. Icon Film Distribution Ltd, who've been set to distribute the film in the U.K. for some time, announced a May 4th release at the start of the week, something firmly denied by the film's U.S. distributors Fox Searchlight, and others close to the film.

Some had doubted the original story, but as we discussed yesterday, Icon had officially placed the film on the release schedule. As we suspected, that date isn't likely to hold, but a new angle on the story has developed, and it's a troubling one for anyone who wanted to see the film on U.K. cinema screens any time soon. Jeff Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere got in touch with Jill Jones of Summit International, the film's sales agent, who stated, simply: "The information regarding the May 4th U.K. release [of "The Tree of Life"] is incorrect. Icon Film Distribution Ltd. does not have the right to distribute "The Tree of Life" in the U.K., as it is in default of its agreement. The matter is pending before an arbitration tribunal in Los Angeles."

It's fairly staggering to hear that Icon don't have the rights to the film, and, as you might expect, there's more to the tale. Anne Thompson reports from sources that the company initially won the rights by offering a high minimum guarantee (an amount of money that they'd have to pay to the film's backers, no matter how well the film does), and were now having second thoughts about releasing the film -- presumably after viewing the finished product (Jeff Wells suggests that distribution types have told him the film is deeply uncommercial, although we're not sure how this is a surprise to anyone).

So, it seems likely that Icon slating the film for an early release was a negotiating tactic, something of a dick move. There's no word on when the arbitration tribunal will happen, but we imagine it'll result in Icon eventually relinquishing the rights to the film, and it'll go back on the market -- the bad blood at work here means its highly unlikely that the film will be released in the U.K. by the company (they also hold the rights in Australia and New Zealand, but it's unclear if the same problems will arise in that territory).

So short-term, it means that the film's world premiere will take place on the Croisette, as Summit and Fox Searchlight had already planned. It also means that it almost certainly won't see the light of day in Britain (and possibly Australia and New Zealand) for quite some time. Even assuming a distributor swiftly steps up to take Icon's place, once the legal wranglings are complete -- and they could turn out to be protracted -- they'd need time to plan a release and a campaign. We're sure there's yet another side to this story, but all in all, not a happy outcome, and a big black mark on Icon's global reputation.

This article is related to: Films, The Playlist UK, Terrence Malick, The Tree Of Life


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates