A five-minute sneak peek at The Beatles: Get Back, a documentary collaboration between the band and filmmaker Peter Jackson, went live on YouTube and Disney Plus on Monday morning as a thank you for fans’ patience. The film, originally scheduled for release in 2020, faced production delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We hope it will bring a smile to everyone’s faces and some much-needed joy at this difficult time,” Jackson said in a statement.
The movie, which is now set to premiere in theaters on Aug. 27, 2021, draws from more than 60 hours of unseen footage shot in 1969 by the director Michael Lindsay-Hogg. Get Back was originally intended as a television special that year, but the project was put on hold, and the film never resumed. Jackson has finished the job, using the footage and more than 150 hours of unheard audio, all of which has been restored for modern screening.
A news release from Disney says Get Back will follow John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Star “as they plan their first live show in over two years,” and write 14 new songs that were intended to be released on an accompanying live album. It culminates in the band’s famous rooftop concert on Jan. 30, 1969 at The Beatles Apple Corps headquarters.
The Beatles broke up three months later, for a variety of reasons, and the 1970 film Let it Be gave fans a sense of constant disharmony and acrimony among the four at the time. Get Back, according to Starr in an earlier news release, depicts the band as they actually were during 1969, “hours and hours of us just laughing and playing music, not at all like [Let it Be].”
The Beatles: Get Back is the fifth feature film about the band, following A Hard Day’s Night (1964), Help! (1965), Yellow Submarine (1968), and Let it Be. It is made in cooperation with McCartney, Starr, and the widows of Lennon and Harrison, using restoration techniques that Jackson developed and showcased in They Shall Not Grow Old, the 2018 World War I documentary.