The studio announced the date on Tuesday (19), throwing another potential awards contender into what is shaping up to be a prestige season. Warner Bros has also acquired rights for the UK, France, Spain, Australia and Japan and will release in those territories in early 2013.

Focus Features International has sold out territories on the ambitious adaptation of David Mitchell’s saga about a soul that migrates across the centuries and sales chief Alison Thompson was in bullish mood when she screened a version to buyers in Cannes that came in at roughly two hours and 40 minutes.

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Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer and Andy Wachowski directed the film and Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, James D’Arcy, Zhou Xun, Keith David, Susan Sarandon and Hugh Grant all star in multiple roles.

The North American release bulks up a heavyweight awards slate for Warner Bros that includes The Great Gatsby, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Dark Knight Rises, Ben Affleck’s Argo and Trouble With The Curve from Clint Eastwood.

“We are proud to be distributing this remarkable motion picture in a number of key markets,” said the studio’s president of international distribution Veronika Kwan Vandenberg. “We look forward to working with these visionary filmmakers and the other international distribution partners to bring Cloud Atlas to moviegoers around the world.”

The Wachowskis adapted the screenplay with Tykwer and the trio also produced alongside Grant Hill and Stefan Arndt. Philip Lee, Uwe Schott and Wilson Qiu served as executive producers.

X-Filme-Verleih will release Cloud Atlas in German-speaking Europe, Dreams Of The Dragon Pictures in China, Bloomage Company in South Korea, Media Asia Group in Hong Kong, Ascension Pictures in Singapore and Malaysia, Long Shong Group in Taiwan and A Company in Russia and Eastern Europe.