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Fox Searchlight Buys Wes Anderson’s ‘The French Dispatch,’ Sets 2020 Theatrical Release

The 10th film from Wes Anderson is a love letter to journalists.

Wes Anderson (director)'Isle of Dogs' photocall, 68th Berlin Film Festival, Germany - 15 Feb 2018

Wes Anderson

People Picture/Jens Hartmann/REX/Shutterstock

Wes Anderson is officially returning to the big screen in 2020. Fox Searchlight Pictures has announced it has picked up worldwide distribution rights to Anderson’s next feature film, “The French Dispatch.” The journalism-centric drama is Anderson’s 10th directorial effort. The Fox Searchlight acquisition is hardly a surprise and was expected by many in the industry considering the studio was behind Anderson’s “The Darjeeling Limited,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” and “Isle of Dogs.” “Fantastic Mr. Fox” was distributed by Searchlight’s parent company 20th Century Fox. Now that Disney owns Fox, “The French Dispatch” will be Anderson’s first Disney film since “The Life Aquatic” release.

“We are excited to dive back into the unmistakable and entirely original world of Wes Anderson,” Fox Searchlight Pictures chairmen Steve Gilula and Nancy Utley in a statement. “Our collaborations with Wes in the past have been exceptional, and we’re thrilled to be back working with him and the Indian Paintbrush team on ‘The French Dispatch.’

Searchlight’s official synopsis for “The French Dispatch” reads: “The film is a love letter to journalists set in an outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional 20th Century French city and brings to life a collection of stories published in ‘The French Dispatch’ magazine. The film’s cast includes Benicio Del Toro, Frances McDormand, Jeffrey Wright, Adrien Brody, Timothée Chalamet, Léa Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, Mathieu Amalric, Lyna Khoudri, Stephen Park, Owen Wilson, Lois Smith, and Bill Murray.”

The acquisition news also comes with the first hint of a release date. Fox Searchlight has announced “The French Dispatch” will be released sometime in 2020. Earlier this year, Anderson said he might be able to finish the movie in time for a 2019 release but Fox Searchlight will hold the project for next year. Searchlight released “Grand Budapest” and “Isle of Dogs” in March following world premieres at the Berlin International Film Festival, so it seems likely “The French Dispatch” will follow suit.

The deal was negotiated by Megan O’Brien, EVP of Business Affairs for Fox Searchlight, and Gene Kang, EVP of Business and Legal Affairs, and Deborah Wettstein, Chief Financial Officer, on behalf of Indian Paintbrush.

Fox Searchlight is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and recently won the TIFF Audience Award with Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit.” “The French Dispatch” joins the studio’s 2020 slate alongside “Wendy,” “Antlers,” and “Downhill.”

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