Team Pioneers New Distribution Track for Malick’s ‘Voyage’ (EXCLUSIVE)

IMAX version bows in the U.S., 35mm feature in international

Imax Entertainment, Broad Green Pictures and Sophisticated Films and sales agent Wild Bunch have unveiled an unusual U.S. and global distribution plan for Terrence Malick’s documentary “Voyage of Time,” set to world premiere at Venice on Tuesday.

Malick began the film more than 40 years ago, pic examines the evolution of the universe and its future. The Venice competition entry will probably not be a conventional movie, and neither will its distribution plan. Sold internationally by Wild Bunch, “Voyage of Time” will unspool on the Lido in its 35mm, feature-length version, with narration from Cate Blanchett. A second, 40-minute Imax iteration casts Brad Pitt as the narrator.

After Venice, the two versions will prescribe very different distribution roll-outs, said Sophokles Tasioulis, at Berlin-based Sophisticated Films. The Imax version will be released in the U.S. on Oct. 7 by Imax.

The 35mm feature-length “Voyage of Time” will be released internationally, bowing in Australia (eOne) and France (Mars Distribution) in December, then Japan (Gaga) in January. It will then be released around the world over the next six months, Tasioulis said, adding that “a year or so, the distribution routes will flip, with the Imax version rolling out over international and the 35mm feature in the U.S.”

“Many of our international distributors are finalizing their release plans now as we speak,” he said.

If successful, the distribution strategy may set a precedent for other big-screen/conventional feature distribution plans.

The distribution plan reflects the state of the business, said Tasioulis, producer of BBC docu-events “Deep Blue” and “Earth.”

Imax documentaries historically have done about 80% of their business in the U.S.

Conversely, “most big theatrical documentaries have performed above average outside the U.S. and average in the U.S., with the exception of ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ [$119.2 million] and ‘March of the Penguins’ [$77.4 million],” said Tasiouslis.

Given the versions’ audiences are different, so are the films, he added. “We hope that people who will go to the feature-length version because it’s Terrence Malick, because of its subject matter and also because of its cinematic and artistic creative vision, delivered by a very distinct filmmaker who has a lot to say about it.” Imax audiences traditionally want more fact-driven movies that are far more “on the nose,” he added. The feature, in contrast, is a “90-minute emotional journey.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • The Laundromat Netflix

    Court Refuses to Block Netflix Release of 'The Laundromat'

    A judge has refused to block the release of “The Laundromat,” the Netflix film that is based on the Panama Papers scandal. Jurgen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca — the attorneys at the center of the scandal — filed suit in federal court in Connecticut on Tuesday, claiming they were defamed by the film. The attorneys [...]

  • The Captain

    Film Review: ‘The Captain’

    Tense and exciting when it finally gets airborne, Chinese disaster movie “The Captain” is an effective tribute to those who saved the day when the cockpit window of a Sichuan Airlines flight shattered over the Tibetan Plateau on May 14, 2018. Capably assembled by Hong Kong director Andrew Lau (the “Infernal Affairs” trilogy), “The Captain” [...]

  • Fall Out Boy - Patrick StumpLeeds

    Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump to Release 'Spell' Soundtrack, Hear First Single Here

    Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump continues his extensive work in the film/TV soundtrack realm with the release of “Spell,” which comes on Nov. 1 on Milan Records through Sony Music Masterworks. The soundtrack features Stump’s music from Crush Pictures’ psych-thriller, including the ballad “Deep Blue Love.” a soulful, blues-tinged ballad performed by Stump and [...]

  • Tell Me Who I Am

    Film Review: 'Tell Me Who I Am'

    Amnesia has been so overused in movies — a convenient narrative device that effectively forces characters to become detectives into their own past — that it’s startling to encounter a film in which someone really does lose his memory. What’s doubly fascinating about the true-life case of Alex Lewis, in which the surprises just keep on coming, [...]

  • Cyrano, My Love

    Film Review: 'Cyrano, My Love' ('Edmond')

    As fizzy as a freshly poured glass of Perrier-Jouët, though considerably less complex, writer-director Alexis Michalik’s “Cyrano, My Love” . Part fancifully fictional account of the play’s conception, and part “Waiting for Guffman”-style depiction of the wild antics behind its first production, “Cyrano” was released in France earlier this year, and its undemanding immersion into [...]

  • Barney

    Barney the Dinosaur Movie in the Works From Mattel Films and Daniel Kaluuya

    Mattel Films, Daniel Kaluuya’s 59% banner and Valparaiso Pictures are partnering to develop a live-action motion picture based on Barney, Mattel’s iconic purple dinosaur. “Working with Daniel Kaluuya will enable us to take a completely new approach to ‘Barney’ that will surprise audiences and subvert expectations,” said Mattel Films’ Robbie Brenner. “The project will speak [...]

  • Film Republic Sells Svetla Tsotsorkova's 'Sister'

    Film Republic Sells Svetla Tsotsorkova's 'Sister' to China, France (EXCLUSIVE)

    Svetla Tsotsorkova’s second feature film “Sister,” which played at the San Sebastian and London film festivals, has been picked up by Hualu in China and Tamasa in France. World sales are handled by Xavier Henry-Rashid’s Film Republic. The film, set in a small town in present-day Bulgaria, centers on a mother and her two daughters, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content