155 Screens A Week
Fans have spoken. Demand for all things Fab Four remains steady, 56 years on. Ron Howard’s Beatles’ love note Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years is delighting has been delighting on 155 screens across the States, breaking records in the process. Just two weeks in, revenues for the documentary topped $2 million, averaging at $2,220 per screen. These numbers are particularly fab when given that the film is conveniently available to stream concurrently, via Hulu. It’s a testament to not only the steadfast power of cinema’s larger than life appeal, but also that of John, Paul, George and Ringo themselves.
The critically acclaimed history-making and history-telling doc tells the story behind The Beatles early touring days, perhaps offering to today’s fans a time-travelling chance to feel up close and personal, witnessing and experience near-tangible access that’s no longer possible.
Leading up to the film’s release, it had been promoted for including a half hour footage of the infamous 1965 Shea Stadium concert, which was originally broadcast in its entirety and all its cacophonous screaming glory via Ed Sullivan Productions the following year as The Beatles at Shea Stadium. The footage, originally shot on 35mm was then digitally restored and remastered by none other than Giles Martin, son of the late great “5th Beatle,” producer George Martin. The inclusion of this footage has led to no small kerfuffle, in the shape of a lawsuit brought against Apple Corps Ltd for “infringing copyrights” of Sid Bernstein Presents LLC, a company claiming to own the master recording of the Shea Stadium concert.
As reported by Billboard Paul Licalsi, Apple Corps’ lawyer, told Bloomberg that the lawsuit is frivolous, arguing, “Mr. Bernstein never made any claim for the film for nearly 50 years until he died.” It’s worth noting as well that Eight Days A Week, Howard’s second documentary (following Made in America, about Jay Z’s festival of the same name) was produced with the full cooperation of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Olivia Harrison, and Yoko Ono Lennon.
Also notable are the many nuggets offered up by this film and its newly (and differently) presented footage from then and now, often a gleeful record of and testament to the blur of the era. For example, when asked about the second time The Beatles played Shea Stadium, both Ringo and George said on camera “We played it twice??” Plus, who isn’t a sucker for getting to see any Beatle tear up discussing those memories. *sniff*
As Americans, this month once again Give Thanks another year on, so too should we all treasure this homage to music, The British Invasion, and all that it means to be a fan.