There’s no question that 2019 was a massive year for music films! We were blessed with a cascade of amazing documentaries and biopics that delved into the life and trajectory of some of music’s biggest artists. And it seems this year is set to follow suit, with the 'in production/planning' phase pile overflowing with huge names, including Elvis Presley, Madonna, Amy Winehouse, Bob Marley, Carole King and Boy George.
Here’s a rundown of upcoming music films in 2020 that have been announced so far.
1. Aretha Franklin: Respect
“Aretha Franklin sings in her father's church choir as a child and grows up to become an international musical superstar and legend.”
Based on the incredible life story of, Aretha Franklin, Respect stars Jennifer Hudson as the Queen of Soul and was written by Callie Khouri - the screenwriter of the ‘90s classic Thelma & Louise (1991). Respect is currently in production and scheduled hit theatres on August 14, 2020.
2. The Band: Once Were Brothers - Robbie Robertson and The Band
“…a confessional, cautionary, and occasionally humorous tale of Robertson’s young life and the creation of one of the most enduring groups in the history of popular music … the Band.”
Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, and Martin Scorsese all feature in this upcoming documentary about The Band; from their days backing Bob Dylan to their breakout debut album, Music From Big Pink in 1968 to that all-star farewell concert film, The Last Waltz which was directed by Martin Scorsese. “There is no band that emphasizes becoming greater than the sum of its parts than the Band,” Springsteen says in the trailer.
“The film is a moving story of Robertson’s personal journey, overcoming adversity and finding camaraderie alongside the four other men who would become his brothers in music, together making their mark on music history.” Out February 21st.
3. Lynyrd Skynard: Last Of The Street Survivors Farewell Tour
“Having the band come home, one last time to Jacksonville and in front of 50,000 fans, was an incredible night,”
The screening of Lynyrd Skynyrd's concert film, Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour, was scheduled for a special one-off screening in November last year. However, due to technical issues, the showing had to be cancelled at the last minute. The band has since issued an apology and promised to release the movie on DVD and BluRay in January 2020.
The concert film documents a massive hometown show the band performed on Sept. 2, 2018, at TIAA Bank Field in Lynyrd Skynyrd's hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. "The energy, passion and reaction to the music and band was something we will never forget,” guitarist Gary Rossington later said of the night.
4. Judy Garland: Judy
“One of the brightest, most tragic movie stars of Hollywood's Golden Era, Judy Garland was a much-loved character whose warmth and spirit, along with her rich and exuberant voice, kept theatre-goers entertained with an array of delightful musicals.”
In 1968, three decades on from her starring role in The Wizard of Oz (1939), beloved actress and singer Judy Garland travelled to London for a five-week run of performances at the Talk of the Town cabaret club. As it turned out, this run of shows were among the renowned performer’s last, as she died of an accidental overdose the following year, aged 47. Judy, starring Renée Zellweger as the eponymous superstar, focuses on this period in Garland’s life. Technically, it came out in October last year, but it currently showing at the Moonlight Cinemas in Capital cities around the country.
5. Beastie Boys: Beastie Boys Story
“The film seamlessly mixes a live stage show and documentary to create a new format, a live documentary. Does that make sense? It’ll make more sense when you see the trailer that the filmmakers haven’t finished editing yet, despite constant badgering.”
The film, featuring Mike Diamond and Adam Horovitz, is a live extension of their Beastie Boys Book, which was produced by the legendary Spike Jonze and focused on the pioneering hip-hop trio’s enduring legacy. It will be available on streaming globally from April 24th.
6. Taylor Swift: Miss Americana
“A raw and emotionally revealing look at Taylor Swift; following one of the most iconic artists of our time as she learns to embrace her role not only as a songwriter and performer, but as a woman harnessing the full power of her voice.”
Miss Americana will make its official debut at this year’s Sundance Film Festival on January 23 before landing on Netflix. Until recently, it was uncertain if Swift would be able to release the documentary as planned due to a copyright dispute from her former manager, Scooter Braun, who owns the copyright to her first six albums. However, last month it was reported that the rights had been cleared “within a timely manner.”
7. Ozzy Osbourne: Biography – The Nine Lives of Ozzy
“…the story of the former Black Sabbath singer: from childhood to solo stardom to reality-TV megafame.”
Produced as part of A&E’s “Biography” series, the documentary will tell the incredible life story of the former Black Sabbath singer, with Ozzy, Sharon and Jack Osbourne all listed among the executive producers. “I use the talent of making people feel somewhat entertained when I was goofing around … to take it onstage with my music, I suppose, is the same kind of a thing,” Ozzy says in one revealing moment. The film will premiere in March at this year’s South by Southwest festival in Austin Texas.
8. The Doors: Break On Thru - A Celebration of Ray Manzarek
“…a concert documentary from a 2016 all-star performance in Los Angeles that John Densmore and Robby Krieger, the two surviving members of The Doors, developed to celebrate what would have been (Ray) Manzarek's 70th birthday.”
As well as the star-studded tribute to the band’s legendary keyboardist, Ray Manzarek, you’ll find never before seen footage from The Doors archives and new Interviews from surviving members, Densmore and Krieger. It really is a one of a kind documentary about a very special person and an iconic rock band.
The Doors: Break On Thru - A Celebration of Ray Manzarek comes to cinemas for one night only on February 12th. Get your tickets HERE.
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