Like a chimera of any intelligent person’s least-favorite storytelling models, we are (in the sense of a diagnosis) finally seeing the cinematic universe intersect with musical biopics. And where to start but the very biggest? Today brings the rather momentous news that Sam Mendes will direct a four-film Beatles epic that tells their story from each member’s perspective, arriving in 2027 via “an innovative [and groundbreaking] release cadence.” If that seems an odd term for movies, you’re correct; I’ve only ever seen it used for software, which is to say: an engineered product.

Though let’s not be too cynical just yet. The Beatles’ Apple Corps Ltd. are fully behind the project, which guarantees more of their music than any narrative feature (or, at minimum eight hours, documentary) yet. Mendes has certain ill instincts but, per his Bond pictures, can be a great keep-the-trains-running-on-time craftsman who hires the right people––imagine the Ed Sullivan Show or trip to India shot by Roger Deakins? It’s all very early days––rarely are features announced more than three years in advance; so’s the nature of four––but one can already sense this being a cultural flashpoint when the time comes. (And God help the underlings at talent agencies trying to get a foot in the door.) An engineered product, yes, just––hopefully––the right kind.

“We intend this to be a uniquely thrilling, and epic cinematic experience: four films, told from four different perspectives which tell a single story about the most celebrated band of all time,” said Neal Street Productions partner Pippa Harris. “To have The Beatles’ and Apple Corps’ blessing to do this is an immense privilege. From our first meeting with Tom Rothman and Elizabeth Gabler, it was clear that they shared both our passion and ambition for this project, and we can’t think of a more perfect home than Sony Pictures.”

“Apple Corps is delighted to collaborate with Sam, Pippa and Julie to explore each Beatle’s unique story and to bring them together in a suitably captivating and innovative way,” said Apple Corps Ltd. CEO Jeff Jones. “Sony Pictures’ enthusiastic support, championing the project’s scope and creative vision from the start, has been invaluable for all of us.” 

“I know I speak for our CEO Tony Vinciquerra, who was instrumental in making this happen, and every Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group colleague around the world when I say: ‘yeah, yeah, yeah!’” said Tom Rothman, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures’ Motion Picture Group. “Theatrical movie events today must be culturally seismic. Sam’s daring, large-scale idea is that and then some. Pairing his premiere filmmaking team, with the music and the stories of four young men who changed the world, will rock audiences all over the globe. We are deeply grateful to all parties and look forward ourselves to breaking some rules with Sam’s uniquely artistic vision.”

No more articles