Does Madonna fear anything?  She certainly doesn't fear critics.  The legendary pop icon received mostly negative notices for her directorial debut, "Filth and Wisdom," but similar to her up and down acting career she's not letting critics dictate her cinematic choices.  Madonna's latest directorial effort, "W.E," was acquired by The Weinstein Company earlier this spring and now the studio has announced a release date smack dab in the middle of awards season, Dec. 9.

Featuring an ensemble cast including Abbie Cornish, James D'Arcy, Oscar Isaac and Andrea Riseborough, "W.E" is based on an original screenplay by Madonna and longtime collaborator Alek Keshishian ("Madonna: Truth or Dare").  According to a release from TWC, "W.E" looks at the fabled romance between American Wallis Simpson (Riseborough) and Britain’s King Edward VIII (D'Arcy), who famously gave up the throne to marry the woman he loved.  More than six decades later, the fabled love story enthralls a young woman named Wally Winthrop (Cornish), who thinks she sees in their devotion a stark contrast to her own unhappy marriage – and an example to follow as she searches for the meaning of true love. Considering the differing opinions on Simpson and Edward's love affair on both sides of the pond (and apparent in TWC's Oscar winning "The King's Speech") it's unclear how realistic the former King's love affair and abdication will be handled.

Harvey Weinstein, who is probably one of a few people you could name on one hand to have mastered all aspects of the Oscar game, would not date "W.E" in Dec. unless he saw how the end of year spotlight could help the film at the box office. 

“Madonna beautifully interweaves past and present in 'W.E.'  It’s a very smart film, and a stunning feature directorial debut,”Weinstein noted in the release. “I’m incredibly excited about this movie and I wanted to give it a prominent release date.”

It's also noteworthy that Darren Aronofsky's regular producing partner, Scott Franklin, came on board as an executive producer.  Franklin only has quality projects on his resume.  Something to consider before you assume the Material Girl's involvement means it won't work.

It will be a busy second half of the year for Madonna by all accounts.  Besides "W.E," she's expected to release a new album sometime this fall.

"W.E" opens in limited release in NY and LA on Dec. 9.