Hulu Nabs Ron Howard Beatles Documentary, Strikes Live Nation Deal

Hulu 2015 Newfronts - Getty - H 2016
Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Hulu

'The Beatles: Eight Day a Week' will be released in theaters before becoming available on Hulu.

Hulu is continuing its push to stream more movies with the launch of a documentary film division. 

The first deal to result from Hulu Documentary Films is a Beatles documentary, with the working title The Beatles: Eight Days a Week, from director Ron Howard. 

The film — which is being produced with cooperation from Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as the widows of John Lennon and George Harrison, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison — will debut in theaters and on Hulu this fall, telling the story of The Beatles' early days. It will mark the first time Hulu exclusively premieres a documentary following its theatrical run. 

Eight Days a Week is being produced by White Horse Pictures' Nigel Sinclair and Scott Pascucci and Imagine Entertainment's Brian Grazer and Howard. Jeff Jones and Jonathan Clyde of The Beatles' Apple Corps. are serving as executive producers along with Imagine's Michael Rosenberg and White Horse's Guy East and Nicholas Ferrall

The news come as Hulu is set to pitch advertisers Wednesday morning at its annual upfront event, held during the first week of the Digital Content NewFronts in New York. 

The private company also has revealed that it will reach 12 million subscribers in the U.S. this month, representing a 30 percent increase since last year. It has sought to bolster its subscriptions through the September launch of a new, ad-free tier that costs $11.99 a month. In addition, the company operates a free tier with some content and a limited commercial tier that includes access to originals and exclusives. 

Hulu also announced Wednesday that it will give concerts the virtual reality treatment thanks to a new partnership with Live Nation. The streamer will bring audiences a series of concert performances shot in the 360-degree immersive format. The series will be available via the Hulu VR app, which launched in March. 

"Concert performances lend themselves well to virtual reality and Hulu is proud to support this VR initiative where we will viscerally capture the energy an artist brings to their fans during performances," said Noah Heller, Hulu vp partnerships and emerging technology. "This partnership reshapes the way fans can interact with their favorite artists with unprecedented access through Live Nation." 

Added Live Nation chief strategy officer Jordan Zachary: "No medium has the potential to bring the magic of a live concert to life more than virtual reality. We are excited to work with Hulu to bring fans closer than ever to the biggest artists and tours in the world." 

The Hulu VR app currently offers audiences a piece featuring original series The Path and content from partners including TheirWorld and Ryot. The app is currently available on Samsung's Gear VR and is expected to roll out on additional platforms. 

The streamer — which is jointly owned by Disney, 21st Century Fox and NBCUniversal — also revealed plans to bring back The Mindy Project and The Path