Come Together: Sam Mendes to Bring The Beatles to the Big Screen With Four Intersecting Biopics

The Beatles

The Beatles – seen here in a 1964 photo – will get the biopic treatment in 2027 with four separate but intersecting films directed by Oscar-winner Sam Mendes. Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes is set to direct four separate films focusing on a different member of the Beatles.

For the first time ever, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, the families of John Lennon and George Harrison, and their company Apple Corps Ltd., have granted full life story and music rights for a scripted film.

But rather than one movie, Skyfall filmmaker Mendes, 58, will direct four, one told from each band member’s perspective.

“I’m honoured to be telling the story of the greatest rock band of all time, and excited to challenge the notion of what constitutes a trip to the movies,” Mendes said in a statement.

According to a press release, the four distinct theatrical feature films will “intersect to tell the astonishing story of the greatest band in history.”

Sony Pictures Entertainment will finance and distribute the films worldwide in 2027. The release schedule for the films will be “innovative and groundbreaking” and revealed closer to the time.

“Theatrical movie events today must be culturally seismic,” added Tom Rothman, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures’ Motion Picture Group. “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.”

Mendes, who conceived the “groundbreaking creative endeavour,” will also produce the project with his Neal Street Productions partner Pippa Harris and Neal Street’s Julie Pastor. Jeff Jones, CEO of Apple Corps Ltd., will executive produce.

–Cover Media via Reuters Connect


A Big Deal


If releasing four intersecting films wasn’t enough, the project also marks the first time The Beatles and Apple Corps Ltd. — the rights holder to the band’s extensive catalogue — have granted full life story and music rights for a scripted film.

Mendes pitched the idea to several production companies in Hollywood but said in a statement that execs at Sony stood out because of their “passion for the idea and commitment to propelling these films theatrically in an innovative and exciting way.”

Sam Mendes
Sam Mendes – seen at the 2022 premiere of Empire Of Light, which he wrote and directed – won the Oscar for Best Director for American Beauty and has directed some massive box office hits in recent years, including the James Bond films Skyfall and Spectre.  Photo: FAYES VISION/ Images/Getty Images


“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,” Pippa Harris added.

With innovation comes an equal amount of risk. As Vanity Fair notes, the project “is undeniably a big swing, an upfront commitment to four feature films and an assumption that come 2027, audiences will buy tickets to the first one and then be clamouring to come back for the next three.”

But if the continued fascination with the Beatles is any indication, this “big swing” could very well connect.

Peter Jackson’s 2021 three-part documentary film The Beatles: Get Back and the band’s recent release of Now and Then – which was billed as “the last Beatles song” and topped charts in the U.K. – certainly proved that Beatlemania is still very much alive.

Meanwhile, the band’s continued popularity among younger audiences hasn’t been left up to chance. From the launch of the Beatles TikTok account in 2021 ahead of Jackson’s film to the release of The Beatles Rockband across three competing video game platforms back in 2009 – which itself coincided with the release of remastered CD versions of the Beatles’ albums – the Fab Four’s multi-generational appeal has been well cultivated.

Encouraging Gen-Zers, Millennials and Boomers to peel themselves away from the comfort of streaming for not one, but four theatrical releases will be no easy feat, but the promise of something new and innovative – not to mention solace from the super-hero fatigue felt by many theatre-goers leading into 2024 – just might help them all “come together” for the epic release. — Andrew Wright