Columbia Pictures just announced that it has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Kathryn Bigelow’s untitled military drama about the pursuit of Osama Bin Laden. The feature, which was penned by Oscar-winning screenwriter Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker), has been in development since 2008 but plans to incorporate the recent killing of Bin Laden into its plot, according to a press release.

“With the death of Osama bin Laden, this film could not be more relevant,” said Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment. “Kathryn and Mark have an outstanding perspective on the team that was hunting the most wanted man in the world. Mark is second to none as an investigative journalist, and Kathryn will bring the same kind of compelling authenticity and urgency that distinguished The Hurt Locker and made that film so memorable and special.”

But when will the film be shot? And, more importantly, when might Sony choose to release it? The release teases a Q4 release, meaning the studio's likely eyeing an Oscar campaign. Earlier this month, we reported that Bigelow’s Bin Laden thriller would be a smaller endeavor with a summer production schedule. While recent events have forced Bigelow to rethink her ending, has she moved far enough along in the process to get this anticipated project in theaters by December, making it eligible for Oscar consideration? Given the urgency of the subject matter - and the fact that other filmmakers are circling plans to dive in to Bin Laden-based projects as well - this new might mean Bigelow has the green light to get her team ready for a fast shoot and a tight window to maximize audience interest.

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