'Tree of Life' Embroiled in U.K. Distribution Flap

 Marie Wallace/Fox Searchlight

LONDON – Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, is tangled up in a legal dispute between U.K. distributor Icon and producers River Road Entertainment just ahead of its much-anticipated bow at the Festival de Cannes next month.

Icon told The Hollywood Reporter it has “no release plans” for the movie and all enquiries should be referred to Summit, the international sales agents for the title. The case is with the arbitrators.

The dispute centers on release dates and the distribution agreement for U.K. rights.

Icon originally scheduled a May 4 rollout for the title here in the U.K. but “that has now changed,” according to a spokesman.

The movie, having screened at an early rough cut stage to Icon, subsequently secured a slot in Cannes and Summit took it up.

Insiders say that with Summit anticipating a juicy world premiere in Cannes, Icon now thinks its distribution deal to have the film ready for it to roll out from May 4 no longer stands.

The story centers around a family with three boys in the 1950s. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence.

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