Saturday, April 20, 2024

Disney Releasing Peter Jackson’s “Let it Be” Beatles Doc on Labor Day Weekend, Bypassing Telluride, Venice, Toronto Film Festivals


Strange news from Beatles-land.

They’ve sold their Peter Jackson documentary, “Get Back,” to Disney. And it will be released to theaters on September 4th, the Friday of Labor Day weekend.

This is generally considered a dump date for movies. For one thing, no one is around for the last two weeks of August. It’s very hard to do promotion or publicity.

Also, this means that Disney is skipping all the festivals — Telluride, Venice, Toronto — where “Get Back” would generate excitement. I’m surprised the Beatles hierarchy went along with this release.

It does mean that “Get Back” will likely have a very short theater window before it moves to Disney Plus streaming service. That’s the whole point, isn’t it?

The press release for this news notes that the original “Let it Be” movie will be shown in a restored state sometime in the future. No date is given. I did tell you that recently that no work is planned on the remixing and remastering of the film’s soundtrack and the original “Let it Be” album until this summer. Even though the 50th anniversary of “Let it Be” is May 8th, we won’t see that second project until the late fall, if at all.

The idea of the Jackson documentary is that it takes Michael Lindsay Hogg’s footage from the shooting of “Let it Be” and repurposes it into a new film. The original film, long out of print, became a harsh look at the group that really no one has wanted to revisit in all these years. The “new” film, “Get Back,” will lighten and brighten it all up. There’s over 55 hours of unseen footage, filmed by Lindsay-Hogg in 1969, and 140 hours of mostly unheard audio recordings from the “Let It Be” album sessions.

All of this has to be handled carefully¬† because after “Let it Be,” that’s it. There are no more 50th anniversaries. The re-issue party is over. It’s unclear where Apple — the real Apple, the Beatles’ Apple– goes from there.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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