The only thing nine-year-old Ron Howard wanted for his tenth birthday was a mop-top Beatles wig. It was March of 1964, and by the time he opened up his gift, the Beatles were just weeks into their first U.S. tour, inducing heart palpitations from sea to shining sea as they debuted on the Ed Sullivan Show and introduced themselves to America. More than half a century later, Howard has channeled his lifelong fandom into a highly-anticipated documentary, The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years, which covers the band’s career from 1962 through 1966.
The film, which hits theaters on Sept. 15 and becomes available for streaming to Hulu subscribers on Sept. 17, begins with the band’s days playing Liverpool’s Cavern Club and ends with their final concert, at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. It examines their creative decision-making process and the way they handled the relentless pressure of meteoric fame. It was produced with the cooperation of surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr as well as Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison.
Howard’s documentary includes rare and unseen footage of the Fab Four and will also be accompanied by a new album, The Beatles: Live At The Hollywood Bowl, which features recordings from the band’s three concerts at that venue between 1964 and 1965.
Howard told Rolling Stone that part of what makes the Beatles such a compelling subject is their rare blend of total genius and total relatability. When he announced the project two years ago, he said his goal was to pair digitally repaired footage with original recordings so that viewers “actually feel like you’re somewhere in the Sixties, seeing what it was like to be there, feeling it and hearing it.” As a director, he continued, “that’s a fantastic challenge.”