Oscar-winning director Ron Howard is to direct an authorized documentary about The Beatles’ touring years.
The as-yet-untitled film – due for release in late 2015 – will focus on the years of 1960 to 1966, from The Beatles’ early days performing in Liverpool’s Cavern Club and in Hamburg, to their last public concert in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park.
This period saw the explosion of Beatlemania in the United States, following the foursome’s performance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. It covers the group’s first world tour and ultimately included 166 concerts in 15 countries and 90 cities before the band ceased touring in August 1966.
The film will also examine the social and political context of the time that allowed Beatlemania to become a global phenomenon and a watershed moment for popular culture.
Howard’s Imagine Entertainment and producer Nigel Sinclair’s White Horse Pictures are producing the doc with the cooperation of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison (the widow of late Beatle George Harrison). Sinclair’s documentary credits include No Direction Home: Bob Dylan and George Harrison: Living in the Material World.
“I am excited and honored to be working with Apple and the White Horse team on this astounding story of these four young men who stormed the world in 1964,” Howard said in a statement. “Their impact on popular culture and the human experience cannot be exaggerated.”
Producers are asking fans who attended any of the Beatles’ gigs to submit clips, home movies and photos via the film’s website.
Sinclair and Howard will produce alongside Scott Pasucci of Concord Music Group and Imagine’s Brian Grazer. Imagine’s Michael Rosenberg and White Horse’s Guy East are exec producing with Jeff Jones and Jonathan Clyde of Apple Corps, the company that administers the legendary rock band’s catalog.
One Voice One World’s Matthew White, Stuart Samuels and Bruce Higham will serve as coproducers on the doc. The company originally brought the idea of doing a Beatles tour doc using amateur footage to Apple Corps in 2003 and began preliminary research three years later.
By 2012, more than 30 people were combing the globe for archival material through a public search. After they amassed sufficient footage, White Horse and Ron Howard signed on.
“This project has always been conceived by me as a poster child for archival value: many of the media items sourced for this film had not been digitized and were vulnerable to loss and decay,” White, an archive development professional who has served as executive director at the American Archive, told realscreen.
“There are millions of hours of analog only material sitting on archives’ shelves that will disappear if they aren’t digitized; this project should draw attention to that, and also be one wonderfully great film to watch.”
Paul Crowder (Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who) will serve as editor, Mark Monroe (The Cover, Chasing Ice) will serve as writer and the supervising producer is Marc Ambrose (Bhutto).
This will be Howard’s second music documentary. The Apollo 13 director previously helmed the 2013 Jay-Z concert film Made In America.
Watch a clip of various Beatles performances below, courtesy of thebeatles.com: