Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Christopher Nolan Talks 'Interstellar' Twist And Enigmatic Ending Christopher Nolan Talks 'Interstellar' Twist And Enigmatic Ending Review: 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1' Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Philip Seymour Hoffman, And More Review: 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1' Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Philip Seymour Hoffman, And More Steve McQueen's Next Film Will Be About Paul Robeson Steve McQueen's Next Film Will Be About Paul Robeson Watch: First Trailer For 'The Age Of Adaline' Starring Blake Lively, Ellen Burstyn And Harrison Ford Watch: First Trailer For 'The Age Of Adaline' Starring Blake Lively, Ellen Burstyn And Harrison Ford Listen Up, Christopher Nolan Defends Sound Mix On 'Interstellar' Listen Up, Christopher Nolan Defends Sound Mix On 'Interstellar' Official Soundtrack Details For Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Inherent Vice' Revealed Official Soundtrack Details For Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Inherent Vice' Revealed Casting: Shailene Woodley Joins Oliver Stone's Edward Snowden Pic, 'True Detective' Adds Pair & More Casting: Shailene Woodley Joins Oliver Stone's Edward Snowden Pic, 'True Detective' Adds Pair & More Rare Pics Of James Remar In James Cameron's 'Aliens' Before He Was Fired Rare Pics Of James Remar In James Cameron's 'Aliens' Before He Was Fired Watch: 40-Minute Discovery Channel Special 'The Science Of Interstellar' Narrated By Matthew McConaughey Watch: 40-Minute Discovery Channel Special 'The Science Of Interstellar' Narrated By Matthew McConaughey 'X-Men: Apocalypse' To Focus On Romance Between Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique & Michael Fassbender's Magneto 'X-Men: Apocalypse' To Focus On Romance Between Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique & Michael Fassbender's Magneto 20 Comic Actors And Their Best Dramatic Roles 20 Comic Actors And Their Best Dramatic Roles Review: 'Dumb and Dumber To' Starring Jim Carrey And Jeff Daniels Review: 'Dumb and Dumber To' Starring Jim Carrey And Jeff Daniels Listen: 45-Minute Talk With Christopher Nolan, Plus The Big Twist From Steven Spielberg's 'Interstellar' Script And More Listen: 45-Minute Talk With Christopher Nolan, Plus The Big Twist From Steven Spielberg's 'Interstellar' Script And More Review: Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway & More Review: Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway & More 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' Will Conclude With A 45-Minute Battle Sequence 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' Will Conclude With A 45-Minute Battle Sequence Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes

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.


E-Mail Updates