When the project was first announced last March, Peter Jackson’s documentary about the Beatles was planned as a feature film for theaters, and scheduled to open on September 4, 2020. The movie’s release was later postponed to August 2021 by the coronavirus pandemic. Apparently, Jackson kept editing the film all that time — and now the film isn’t a film at all. It’s a series.
Disney announced today that Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back isn’t coming to theaters. It will instead premiere on Disney+ this Thanksgiving as a three-part, six-hour miniseries event. Each of the three episodes will be released on consecutive days on the streaming service, on November 25, 26, and 27.
The film is supposedly compiled from “over 60 hours of unseen footage” of the Beatles’ time working on the album that ultimately became known as Let It Be. The footage was originally used as the basis for a documentary called Let It Be directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, but the Beatles supposedly were not happy with the finished product and haven’t released it in any form since the early 1980s. The period documented in the Lindsay-Hogg’s material coincides with the beginning of the end of the group, along with their famous final live performance from the roof of the Apple building on Saville Row.
Clearly there was so much interesting stuff in that footage that Jackson couldn’t fit it all into a feature film. (Either that or he learned nothing from turning The Hobbit into a trilogy.) Via a press release, here was Jackson’s comment on the news:
In many respects, Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s remarkable footage captured multiple storylines. The story of friends and of individuals. It is the story of human frailties and of a divine partnership. It is a detailed account of the creative process, with the crafting of iconic songs under pressure, set amid the social climate of early 1969. But it’s not nostalgia – it’s raw, honest, and human. Over six hours, you’ll get to know The Beatles with an intimacy that you never thought possible. I’m very grateful to The Beatles, Apple Corps and Disney for allowing me to present this story in exactly the way it should be told. I’ve been immersed in this project for nearly three years, and I’m very excited that audiences around the world will finally be able to see it.
If nothing else, it’s smart Disney+ programming for the Thanksgiving holiday. Everyone loves the Beatles, and this is something the family can watch when they all get back to where they once belonged. Here’s the trailer for the film series that was released last December.
Sign up for Disney+ here.
The Best Animated Shorts on Disney+
Can’t find time for a feature-length cartoon? Check out these great shorts streaming on Disney+.