After a bit of delay in finding a distributor, Madonna‘s second directorial effort W.E. has a home at The Weinstein Company. Moreover, the Weinsteins plan to release the picture sometime in 2011 — a last-minute calendar addition that could mean one of two things. Either the movie has actual awards potential, or The Weinstein Company needs a movie, now, that can fill some space in November.

First up, the recap. W.E. is an ambitious movie that stars Abbie Cornish, Oscar Isaac, James D’Arcy, Andrea Riseborough, Natalie Dormer, Richard Coyle, James Fox, and Laurence Fox, in parallel love stories. One tale follows King Edward VIII and the American divorcee Wallis Simpson; the affair between the two caused Edward VIII to give up the throne of England. And there is a modern story, set in 1998, about a woman named Wally Winthrop, who is perhaps a bit too taken with the story of Wallis and Edward.

No release date is set for the film, but the press release from TWC says a 2011 release date is planned. That could indicate that the Weinsteins figure it has award season potential. Or it could be that, after October, the company doesn’t have anything firmly on the calendar. So is W.E. filler or a movie that will make everyone forget about Madonna’s first film, Filth and Wisdom? Hard to say right now.

A festival bow, which is likely, could help define that position. And there are a handful of films that could change the company’s slate late in the summer. TWC picked up The Artist at Cannes — one of the Palme d’Or front-runners — and has yet to set a date for it. And films like Cogan’s Trade, The Iron Lady, My Week With Marilyn and the Shakespeare update Coriolanus, directed by Ralph Fiennes, could all potentially find fall slots as the summer goes on and TWC gets through the August/September festival schedule of Telluride, Venice and TIFF.

Meanwhile, here’s TWC’s official synopsis for W.E.:

W.E. tells the story of two fragile but determined women – Wally Winthrop and Wallis Simpson – separated by more than six decades.  In 1998, lonely New Yorker Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) is obsessed with what she perceives as the ultimate love story: King Edward’s VIII’s abdication of the British throne for the woman he loved, American divorcée Wallis Simpson.  But Wally’s research, including several visits to the Sotheby’s auction of the Windsor Estate, reveals that the couple’s life together was not as perfect as she thought. Weaving back and forth in time, W.E. intertwines Wally’s journey of discovery in New York with the story of Wallis (Andrea Riseborough) and Edward (James D’Arcy), from the glamorous early days of their romance to the slow unraveling of their lives in the decades that followed.

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