Magnolia Pictures has acquired US rights to Fernando Meirelles’ 360, a globetrotting human drama from a screenplay by Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) that made the film festival circuit this fall. Meirelles, who’s best known for directing City of God and The Constant Gardener, reunites with Rachel Weisz for a story that attempts to connect multiple individuals as they confront personal issues pertaining to sexual and social relationships. In addition to Weisz, the 360 cast includes Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law, Ben Foster, Jamel Debbouze and Moritz Bleibtreu.

“Fernando Meirelles and Peter Morgan are two exceptional talents that have crafted a unique and truly special picture,” said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles. “360 is a stunningly well made film, and a fantastic showcase for some of the most talented actors from around the world."

The film has had its own passport punched a few times. It world premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, opened the BFI London Film Festival, and opened in Sweden on Oct. 19. But early reviews so far have been mixed, with critics praising the cast but wishing Morgan and Meirelle had found a stronger line to connect the film’s floating protagonists. The most positive 360 review on Rotten Tomatoes comes from Mark Adams of This Is London, who admits, “360 is not a film to love easily.”

But Magnolia has shown the capacity to place challenging films in front of suitable audiences, and they no doubt will rise to the challenge with 360. They plan to avoid this year’s awards race with Meirelles’ film, announcing a theatrical release in 2012 in all major U.S. markets, though they say in a release that the film will be “bolstered by a prominent film festival presence leading up to release.” Will it come out after Sundance? Tribeca? Whenever it’s released, Magnolia says it also will participate in the company’s Ultra VOD distribution program, as well.

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