Elton John Documentary ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ Arrives at Disney Deadline


Elton John Documentary 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' Arrives at Disney Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: Disney Original Documentary and Disney+ have won the rights to a major documentary package, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: Elton John’s final appearances and the years that made him a legend. No one would comment, but we’re hearing that the documentary, co-directed by Academy Award nominee RJ Cutler and filmmaker (and longtime partner of Elton John) David Furnish, has sold for around $30 million.

RJ Cutler, David Furnish
personal courtesy; Michael Buckner/Deadline

Designed to serve as an official Elton John feature, Bye bye, yellow cobbled road consists of unpublished concert recordings of him over the last 50 years, handwritten diaries and recent recordings of him and his family. The plan for the project is to get a festival run, a limited theatrical release and be exclusive to Disney+.

The documentary focuses on Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour, as the film captures Elton John’s final months on the road, culminating in his November performance at Dodger Stadium in his final North American show. We’ve heard the package includes rights to live stream this final concert, which is shaping up to be one of the biggest farewells in rock ‘n’ roll history.

Bye bye, yellow cobbled road will look back at those too unprecedented The first five years of John’s career as he released 10 hit albums between 1970 and 1975, seven of which hit #1 on the Billboard charts and became a global phenomenon.

“There are no more superlatives to describe Elton John and his influence on music and culture – he is simply unrivalled,” said Bob Chapek, CEO of The Walt Disney Company. “Like a good Disney story, Elton’s music has both universal appeal and the ability to connect with audiences on a deeply personal level. He has been part of the Disney family since 1994 when he helped make it The Lion King an instant classic and we couldn’t be more excited to be collaborating with him on this new documentary.”

Featuring exclusive new interviews and performance clips from Madison Square Garden, London and other venues, the film will be the definitive portrait of one of the world’s most successful musical artists of all time, inspiring generations of viewers and musicians alike. In addition to directing, RJ Cutler will also produce the film under his This Machine Filmworks, a Sony Pictures TV company, as will Furnish, which will produce under his and Elton Johns-founded Rocket Entertainment. Trevor Smith will also serve as producer. Joining executive producers are John Battsek, Jane Cha Cutler and Elise Pearlstein.

“It is a great honor to work with RJ Cutler and David Furnish on what will undoubtedly become the defining film about the legendary Elton John,” said Ayo Davis, President of Disney Branded Television. “Her incredible vision and intimate access to exclusive, never-before-seen anecdotes and footage will provide the deepest and most compelling look yet at one of the world’s most loved and prolific artists.”

for cutler, Bye bye, yellow cobbled road another top-class music documentary follows, Billie Eilish: The world is a little blurry which also sold to Apple TV+ in a big deal – thought to be around $25 million

“What a thrill and honor to have David Furnish and I create this intimate and unique look at one of the world’s most celebrated artists,” said Cutler. “Like so many others, the music of Elton John has held a deep meaning for me for decades and this opportunity is nothing short of a career highlight and privilege.”

Furnish comments, “Elton and I couldn’t ask for a better collaborator than RJ Cutler on a film that represents more than Elton’s career – it’s his life. From The Troubadour to Dodger Stadium, we knew RJ would help guide Elton’s story and its many layers in a way that felt authentic and evocative. We are excited to work together.”

Cutler is the director, producer and writer of a four-time Emmy-nominated and Oscar-nominated documentary Billie Eilish: The world is a little blurry. His other feature documentary films include Critics’ Choice Award nominations belushi, Oscar nominated the war room, Emmy-nominated A perfect candidate the Sundance Award winner the september issue, the Peabody Award-winning and Oscar-nominated film listen to me marlon the Grierson Award winner Thin and The world according to Dick Cheney.

Submarine’s Josh Braun negotiated the deal with Disney. Danny Passman of Gang, Tyre, Ramen, Brown & Passman represented Rocket Pictures. Marisa Fermin and Sarah Santos represented This Machine Filmworks. Jeanne Newman von Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman played Cutler.

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