28 September 2012 8:37 AM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

One of the luckiest things that ever happened to Terrence Malick was Fox Searchlight falling in love with his labor of love "The Tree of Life." Imagine the fate of that film in just about anyone else's hands. Who else would have lavished so much care and attention on a film that topped out at $13.3 million domestic? Nobody made money on that deal. I'm not dissing Magnolia Pictures, which has bought U.S. rights to Malick's latest, "To the Wonder," out of Venice and Toronto for 2013 release. But the new deal these days is that distributors --while they do spend substantial marketing dollars in theatrical releease --increasingly are engaged in an economic model that demands volume. Magnolia Pictures has released over the past year Lars von Trier’s "Melancholia," Kevin Macdonald’s biopic "Marley," David Gelb’s "Jiro Dreams of Sushi," Scandinavian thriller "Headhunters," Sarah Polley’s »

- Anne Thompson

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