The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years

Documentary • For The Beatles • Directed by Ron Howard

Timeline This film has been released in 2016
Release date:
Sep 15, 2016

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About

From Wikipedia:

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years is a 2016 documentary film directed by Ron Howard about the Beatles’ career during their touring years from 1962 to 1966, from their performances at the Cavern Club in Liverpool to their final concert in San Francisco in 1966.

The film was released theatrically on 15 September 2016 in the United Kingdom and the United States, and started streaming on Hulu on 17 September 2016. It received several awards and nominations, including for Best Documentary at the 70th British Academy Film Awards and the Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special at the 69th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

Production

The film was produced with the cooperation of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Beatle widows Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison. In addition to directing the documentary, Ron Howard also served as a producer alongside Brian Grazer, Nigel Sinclair, and Scott Pascucci. Written by Mark Monroe, the film was edited by Paul Crowder.

Prior to the film’s release, it was announced that it includes 30 minutes of film footage shot for the band’s 1965 concert at Shea Stadium. That concert was filmed by Ed Sullivan Productions and broadcast on TV in 1966 as The Beatles at Shea Stadium. Consisting of 11 songs, the set was originally shot on 35mm film and was digitally restored in 4K resolution for the documentary, in addition to having remastered sound by Giles Martin, son of Beatles producer George Martin.

Release

The film project was announced by Hulu on 4 May 2016 as its first documentary acquisition, as part of a planned Hulu Documentary Films collection. The film premiered theatrically on 15 September, before debuting on the streaming service on 17 September.

Box office

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week—The Touring Years grossed $2.9 million in the U.S. and Canada and $9.4 million in other territories, including $1.4 million in the UK, for a worldwide total of $12.3 million.

In the film’s opening weekend in North America, it made $785,336 from 85 theatres, for an average of $9,239.

Critical response

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 96% based on 102 reviews, with an average rating of 7.87/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “We love them, yeah, yeah, yeah—and with archival footage like that, you know The Beatles: Eight Days a Week—The Touring Years can’t be bad.” On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a score 72 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”. […]

Lawsuit

On 12 September 2016, Apple Corps. and Subafilms Ltd. were sued by representatives of Sid Bernstein, the concert promoter of the 1965 Shea Stadium concert, over the ownership of the master recordings from the event. While the copyright of the songs was not contested, the footage itself was claimed to be owned by Sid Bernstein Presents, LLC, the company representing Bernstein’s interests, who himself died in 2013. The suit requested an injunction against the release of the footage in the film, asserting Bernstein’s ownership “[by] reason of being the producer of and having made creative contributions to the 1965 Shea Stadium performance, as well as being the employer for hire of the Beatles and the opening acts, who performed at his insistence and expense”. The company had previously submitted applications to the Copyright Office to register ownership of the footage, which were rejected.

Paul Licalsi, a lawyer for Apple Corps., described the lawsuit as “frivolous”, citing an agreement that Bernstein had with the band’s management over the film rights, as well as the fact that Bernstein himself had never made any claim during his lifetime.

From The Independent, September 15, 2016:

[..] In counterpoint, Eight Days A Week also reveals McCartney’s hunger for touring, certainly in the early days. Speaking to him in 2013, I asked him why he was, still, on the road in his seventies. He replied that the desire to perform was built into him, from Hamburg dives to American stadiums via some 249 shows at Liverpool’s Cavern.

“It’s that tipping point thing, isn’t it, 10,000 hours?” McCartney told me, a reference to Malcolm Gladwell’s theory about true masters of their art requiring that many hours of practise. “I think there’s a bit of that to it, yeah. It’s all I’ve ever done, in one respect. It’s like I’ve always just worked in that factory, and I kinda like it. It’s home.”

“It’s hardwired in him,” agrees Howard. “Also, he loves performing. Paul’s a true performer; he’s a great writer; a great musician; great in the studio. I’ve talked to people who’ve worked with him over the years – one described Paul as the greatest bandmate you could ever have.

“But I also believe that all along he felt there was right way and a wrong way to do things. And he would not rest until the idea was fulfilled in what he felt was the right way. He brought that to the band, and continued with it throughout the rest of his career.”

In terms of doing things the right way, Howard reveals that McCartney made one key request to the filmmaker. It pertained to his late writing partner and the decades of rumour and counter-rumour that shadowed their relationship.

“This was the big thing that Paul asked me – he said: ‘You know there was a lot that happened later that kinda got in the way of John’s and my friendship. But when we’re talking about this period of time, this was a period of friendship, and I really hope the movie reflects that.’ That was his only request. And then he was happy to talk about a bit of that in his interview.”

Last updated on March 18, 2021

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