Acquisitions: “Tree of Life”, “Lions,” “Jack”

Tree of Life
Fox Searchlight has acquired U.S. rights to Terrence Malick’s much anticipated drama “The Tree of Life” starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, picking up the rights from Apparition which recently closed down its distribution operations.

‘Life’ was first rumoured for a Cannes festival debut, then Venice, then Toronto. Now, Searchlight says it will release the project in 2011 and ultimately miss out on the awards race this year.

The delay isn’t a huge surprise as Searchlight already has at least four major contenders in the running for awards consideration this year including “127 Hours,” “Black Swan,” “Conviction” and “Never Let Me Go”.

Four Lions
The Alamo Drafthouse, the beloved cult cinema in the Texan city of Austin, is getting into the film distribution business with its first title to be British terrorist comedy “Four Lions”.

Drafthouse will launch with a ten-city promo tour in mid-October, followed by a platform opening in New York, Los Angeles, and Austin.

Casino Jack
Finally, ATO Pictures has acquired the U.S. theatrical rights to the Kevin Spacey-starrer “Casino Jack” which has its world premiere in Toronto late next week.

The true-life drama about convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff will score a late December release. Metropolitan Inc. originally scored the rights but the deal fell through a month ago.