Disney Original Documentary and Disney+ announced today the feature documentary Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: The Final Elton John Performances and The Years That Made His Legend. From Academy Award-nominee R.J. Cutler and filmmaker David Furnish, the documentary will serve as the official feature on Elton John, comprised of unseen concert footage of him over the past 50 years, hand-written journals, and present-day footage of him and his family. Following a robust festival run and limited theatrical release, the film will be available exclusively on Disney+.
Rooted in Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour, the feature documentary film will capture Elton John’s final months on the road, culminating in what promises to be one of the greatest send-offs in rock-and-roll history when John performs his final North American show at Dodger Stadium this upcoming November. The film will also look back at the extraordinary first five years of John’s career when, between 1970 and 1975, he released 10 iconic albums, seven of which went to No. 1 on the Billboard charts and became a global phenomenon.
“There are no superlatives left to describe Elton John and his impact on music and culture — he’s simply unrivaled,” 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 ‘The Lion King’ an instant classic, and we could not be more excited to collaborate with him on this new documentary.”
“Working with R.J. Cutler and David Furnish on what will undoubtedly become the definitional film about the iconic Elton John is a great honor,” said Ayo Davis, president of Disney Branded Television. “Their incredible vision and intimate access to exclusive, never-before-seen anecdotes and footage will provide the deepest, most captivating insight yet into one of the world’s most beloved and prolific artists.”
With exclusive new interviews and performance clips from Madison Square Garden, London, and other performance venues, the film will be the definitive portrait of one of the world’s most successful musical artists of all time, who has inspired multiple generations of audiences and musicians. In addition to directing, R.J. Cutler will also produce the film under his company, This Machine Filmworks, as will David Furnish, who will produce under his and Elton John’s formed Rocket Entertainment. Trevor Smith will also serve as producer. Joining as executive producers are John Battsek, Jane Cha Cutler, and Elise Pearlstein.
“What a thrill and an honor it is that David Furnish and I get to create this intimate and unique look at one of the world’s most celebrated artists,” said director and producer R.J. Cutler. “As it has for so many others, Elton John’s music has had deep meaning for me for decades, and this opportunity is nothing short of a career highlight and privilege.”
Director and producer David Furnish says, “Elton and I could not think of a better collaborator than R.J. Cutler for a film that represents more than just Elton’s career — it’s his life. From the Troubadour to Dodger Stadium, we knew that R.J. would help guide Elton’s story and its many layers in a way that feels authentic and evocative. We’re ecstatic to be working together.”
R.J. Cutler is an award-winning filmmaker who has made some of the most significant documentaries and television series of the past quarter-century. He is the director, producer, and writer of the four-time Emmy®-nominated and Oscar®-shortlisted feature documentary Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, about music sensation Billie Eilish. His additional feature documentary credits include Critics’ Choice Award-nominated BELUSHI, Oscar-nominated The War Room, Emmy-nominated A Perfect Candidate, the Sundance Award-winning The September Issue, the Peabody Award-winning and Oscar-shortlisted Listen to Me Marlon, the Grierson Award-winning 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, Inc. represented Rocket Pictures. Marisa Fermin and Sarah Santos represented This Machine Filmworks. Jeanne Newman of Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller, Gellman, Meigs & Fox represented R.J. Cutler.
R.J. Cutler and David Furnish are directing and producing under their respective production companies, This Machine Filmworks and Rocket Entertainment. Trevor Smith is also producer. Executive producers are John Battsek, Jane Cha Cutler, and Elise Pearlstein. Marjon Javadi is VP, Originals for Documentaries and Docuseries for Disney Branded Television/Disney Original Documentary.