The Beatles are ubiquitous these days: their role in the film world only seems to grow with each passing month. Just as Fab Four fans tire of the Beatles Rock Band playbook, the Criterion-Janus restoration / tour of Richard Lester’s joyful “A Hard Day’s Night” makes waves across the country. The Beatles-related content available include the Richard Lester sequel “Help!”, the doc about their Liverpool secretary (here), “Nowhere Boy,” starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson as John Lennon, Ian Softley’s “Backbeat,” PBS’s “Magical Mystery Tour Revisited,” and Julie Taymor’s “Across the Universe.” (Bring Cheap Trick back to perform Sergeant Pepper at the Hollywood Bowl!) And now Variety reports that Ron Howard, under a partnership between Imagine Entertainment, Apple Corps. Ltd., and White Horse Pictures, will direct an untitled documentary exploring the band’s global tour from 1960 to 1966. (Who’s going to revive Robert Zemeckis‘s sunk plans for “Yellow Submarine”?)
Borrowing a page from Martin Scorsese (“George Harrison: Living in the Material World,” “No Direction Home: Bob Dylan,” the Rolling Stones’ “Shine a Light”), Howard is mixing up music docs with feature films. Following up his Jay Z-centered “Made in America,” Howard’s next music piece will trace the band’s 10,000 hours, from their early days in Liverpool and Hamburg up to the final show at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. There will, unsurprisingly, be concert footage, which One Voice One World — which first proposed the idea to Apple Corps. — has helped to assemble from photos and videos taken by fans. With the inclusion of sound-board recordings, Howard believes that somewhere between 12 and 20 songs are to be included.
White Horse’s Nigel Sinclair (with whom the director worked on “Rush”) helped bring this project together. As endorsed by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, and Olivia Harrison, this endeavor is expected to hit theaters by the end of 2015.