Sony Chief Tom Rothman on the big gamble of Sam Mendes’ four Beatles films releasing in the same year

While musical biopics are big sellers in Hollywood, some of the most coveted stories are deemed untouchable, but Sony plans to go all-in on The Beatles.

Last Updated on March 5, 2024

sony, sam mendes, the beatles

Last week, it was revealed that American Beauty and Skyfall director Sam Mendes conceived and has signed on to take on the monumental task of telling the story of arguably the most popular rock band of all time, The Beatles. His epic concept was not to have just one biopic but to make four separate biopics, with each film focusing on a member of the group. Not many details have been announced beyond that, but as Mendes pitched his idea to Hollywood, Sony Pictures would end up outbidding the other studios for the chance to release these movies. The Hollywood Reporter now reveals that Sony head Tom Rothman is betting big on this project by releasing all four movies in the same year. Rothman told THR, “You have to match the boldness of the idea with a bold release strategy. There hasn’t been an enterprise like this before, and you can’t think about it in traditional releasing terms.” The Beatles have a famously pricey catalog of songs to license and having access to the library of music plus their life stories is a giant investment for the studio. Sony hopes to start shooting in the U.K. in mid-2025 for a planned 2027 release for all four biopics. They will all shoot together like Lord of the Rings. However, besides Mendes, no writers have been signed on for the project yet, and the studio will not have an estimate of the budget until the scripts are written.

Mendes’ vision involves having each movie tell the story from each Beatle’s point of view and will interconnect with the other films. The 1917 director conceived of this grand idea and had pitched it to Hollywood, but it was Tom Rothman and Elizabeth Gabler at Sony Pictures who would end up winning the chance to take on this massive project. Mendes spoke with Deadline about the deal coming together, “We went out to L.A. just before Christmas to pitch the project, and it’s fair to say we were met with universal enthusiasm. The reason Sony stood out from competing offers was down to Tom and Elizabeth’s passion for the idea, and commitment to propelling these films theatrically in an innovative and exciting way.”

Sam Mendes’ production company, Neal Street Productions, will be partnering up with Sony Pictures Entertainment for the films, and Mendes will be on board as the director of all four. According to Deadline, this will be marking the first time Apple Corps Ltd. and Beatles members – Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, as well as the families of John Lennon and George Harrison – have granted the full life story and music rights for a scripted film.

Source: THR

About the Author

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E.J. is a News Editor at JoBlo, as well as a Video Editor, Writer, and Narrator for some of the movie retrospectives on our JoBlo Originals YouTube channel, including Reel Action, Revisited and some of the Top 10 lists. He is a graduate of the film program at Missouri Western State University with concentrations in performance, writing, editing and directing.