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Peter Jackson ‘Get Back’ film delayed

Disney have announced that the ‘new’ version of The Beatles‘ Let It Be film, called The Beatles: Get Back will now come out a year late, in August 2021, having been originally slated for theatrical release in September 2020. As you might expect, the reasons are related to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

This is of course a blow to Beatles fans and inevitably we have to consider the impact on a 50th anniversary Let It Be music box set – which hasn’t been officially announced – but was widely expected for later this year.
The viability of this package all depends on whether the Get Back film was ever going to be included as part of a music-video box set in the first place.

Disney own the worldwide distribution rights, so their priorities are going to be firstly the theatrical run of the film, and then after that using this ‘content’ to drive people to their Disney+ video-on-demand streaming service, which launched in the UK back in March. Helping Universal Music Catalogue sell a Let It Be box set isn’t going to be top of Disney’s ‘to do’ list. If you accept this premise, you must conclude that even if the film had been released in September this year, it was extremely unlikely to feature in the Let It Be box set, which Universal would have needed to release no later than two months after the film’s premiere.

Therefore SDE’s prediction is that this delay to the Peter Jackson film will have no impact on the Let It Be box set. Therefore, as long as there are no manufacturing impediments, I think it will still happen later this year, because including the film was never an option.

While Disney have secured the rights to The Beatles: Get Back, the fate of the original cut of Let It Be is less clear. Is that part of the Disney deal too, or is that exempt and could Apple offer the restored original to UMC for their Let It Be box set? That seems unlikely, especially when you recall the official statement about the Peter Jackson film back in March, which noted that the original version would be made available AFTER the Get Back reworking (“at a later date”).

So expect a multi-disc Let It Be box for late 2020 to include the remastered album, multiple outtakes and a 5.1 surround mix – but no films.