Yesterday (2019 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Danny Boyle|
|Screenplay by||Richard Curtis|
|Music by||Daniel Pemberton|
|Edited by||Jon Harris|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$98.2 million|
Yesterday is a 2019 British romantic comedy film directed by Danny Boyle and written by Richard Curtis, based on an original screenplay by Jack Barth and Mackenzie Crook. It stars Himesh Patel as a struggling musician who, after an accident, finds himself the only person who remembers the Beatles; he becomes famous after taking credit for writing and performing their songs. The film also features Lily James as Himesh's childhood friend and love interest, Kate McKinnon as his manager, and Ed Sheeran as a fictionalized version of himself.
The project was announced in March 2018. Filming began the following month around England, particularly Suffolk. Photography also took place at Wembley Stadium, Principality Stadium and in Los Angeles. The filmmakers paid $10 million for the rights to use the music; although none of the Beatles were involved, Boyle did receive blessings from them and their families.
Yesterday had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on 4 May 2019, and was released in the United Kingdom on 28 June 2019, by Universal Pictures. The film received mixed reviews, with some praise for the premise, performances, light tone, and musical sequences, but criticism of the familiarity and simplicity.
Jack Malik is a struggling singer-songwriter from Lowestoft. His manager and childhood friend Ellie Appleton encourages him not to give up on his dreams. After Jack is hit by a bus during a global blackout, he sings "Yesterday" for his friends, and discovers they have never heard of the Beatles. After realising the world no longer remembers the band, Jack begins performing their songs, passing them off as his own.
Ellie has Jack record a demo with a local music producer. Following a performance on local television, Jack is invited by pop star Ed Sheeran to play as his opening act in Moscow. Ellie declines to join him, saying she must work at her day job as a schoolteacher, so Jack's roadie friend Rocky travels with him instead. After the gig, Sheeran challenges Jack to a songwriting duel; he loses to Jack's "The Long and Winding Road". In Los Angeles, Sheeran's ruthless agent Debra Hammer signs him to her label and engineers his rise to global fame.
At Jack's going-away party, Ellie confesses that she has always been in love with him. Hoping to trigger memories of more Beatles songs, Jack goes to their hometown of Liverpool, visiting landmarks such as Strawberry Field, Penny Lane, and "Eleanor Rigby's grave". Ellie joins him in Liverpool, and they spend a drunken evening and kiss, but Ellie tells him she is not interested in a one-night stand. The next morning, Jack and Rocky pursue Ellie to the train station, where she demands Jack choose between her and his career. Jack returns to Los Angeles, heartbroken.
The record label prepares to launch Jack's debut album. The producers reject his suggested titles, taken from Beatles records, and name the album One Man Only, pushing his talent. Jack persuades them to launch the album with a rooftop concert in Gorleston. Backstage, two fans approach him and tell him they know he plagiarised the songs, but thank him, fearing the music had gone forever. They give him the address of John Lennon, who has survived into old age, out of the public spotlight. Jack asks Lennon if he has led a successful life; Lennon replies that he has lived happily with his wife. He advises Jack to pursue the one he loves and always tell the truth.
Ed arranges for Jack to perform at Wembley Stadium. Jack confesses to the crowd that he plagiarised the music and that he loves Ellie, and has Rocky upload the songs free to the internet, sabotaging the record release. Jack and Ellie marry and have a family together, and Jack becomes a music teacher.
- Himesh Patel as Jack Malik
- Karma Sood as young Jack Malik
- Lily James as Ellie Appleton
- Jaimie Kollmer as young Ellie Appleton
- Kate McKinnon as Debra Hammer
- Ed Sheeran as himself
- Joel Fry as Rocky
- Lamorne Morris as Head of Marketing
- Sophia Di Martino as Carol
- Ellise Chappell as Lucy
- Harry Michell as Nick
- Camille Chen as Wendy
- Alexander Arnold as Gavin
- James Corden as himself
- Sanjeev Bhaskar as Jed Malik
- Meera Syal as Shelia Malik
- Karl Theobald as Terry
- Justin Edwards as Leo
- Sarah Lancashire as Liz
- Michael Kiwanuka as himself
- Robert Carlyle as John Lennon (uncredited)
The film began as an original screenplay called Cover Version, by writer Jack Barth and actor-writer-director Mackenzie Crook, with Crook intending to direct the film. A few years later, after Crook had dropped out due to other commitments, the story was pitched to writer-director Richard Curtis, who loved the idea but wanted to write his own script for it. Whereas in Cover Version, the lead character achieves only moderate success with the Beatles songs, Curtis's lead character becomes the world's most celebrated singer-songwriter. Curtis also shifted focus onto the love story between the male and female leads.
In March 2018, it was announced that director Danny Boyle and writer Richard Curtis were working together on a musical comedy that would be set in the 1960s or 1970s and centre on "a struggling musician who thinks he's the only person who can remember The Beatles with Himesh Patel cast in the lead role. Ed Sheeran's supporting role was originally intended for Chris Martin, who turned it down. For the lead role, Patel was selected from the many actors who auditioned, with Boyle convinced Patel was the right choice after listening to him perform "Yesterday" and "Back in the U.S.S.R." during auditions. Boyle felt that Patel's voice had soul; Sheeran agreed. In addition to acting, the Beatles cover songs in the film are sung by Patel, who also plays the guitar and piano.
Later in March 2018, Lily James and Kate McKinnon joined the cast. Boyle informed the surviving members and widows of the band about the film and received a reply he described as "lovely" from Beatles drummer Ringo Starr. In April 2018, it was revealed that Ed Sheeran had joined the cast and would potentially also write new music for the film, which would also include Beatles songs. Later that month, Ana de Armas and Lamorne Morris had also joined the cast. In May 2018, Sophia Di Martino, Joel Fry and Harry Michell joined.
Filming began on 21 April 2018, with production in the United Kingdom starting on 26 April 2018, with scenes filmed all around Suffolk in Halesworth, Dunwich, Shingle Street, Latitude Festival and Clacton-on-Sea, Essex. A casting call was issued for extras in overnight scenes shot immediately after Sheeran's four consecutive concerts at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales in May 2018. A further 5,000 extras were also recruited to appear in scenes shot on Gorleston-on-Sea Beach in Norfolk in June 2018. Wembley Stadium was also used to film a concert scene. Filming also took place in Liverpool, making use of Penny Lane, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Lime Street Station and the Queensway Tunnel.
In February 2019, it was announced that the title of the film was Yesterday. It is estimated to have cost around $10 million to get the rights for the Beatles' songs to be featured in the film, with the rights to their music being held by Apple Records and Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Scenes with de Armas, who played another love interest for Jack, were cut as test audiences felt it made Jack less sympathetic.
The film was initially set to be released on September 13, 2019, but was moved up several months earlier to June 28 largely because, due to a copyright lawsuit filed by Paul McCartney, Sony Music's rights to some of the Beatles songs used in the film would start transferring back to Paul by the fall of 2019. It had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on 4 May 2019. A local premiere of the film took place at the Gorleston Palace cinema on 21 June 2019.
The first official trailer of the film was released on 12 February 2019.
The film's trailer drew comparisons to several other works dealing with a similar premise or themes, including the British film Blinded by the Light (2019), the 2011 Japanese manga Boku wa Beatles (僕はビートルズ "We Are the Beatles") by Tetsuo Fujii and Kaiji Kawaguchi, the 1990s British sitcom Goodnight Sweetheart, the French film Jean-Philippe (2006), and the French graphic novel Yesterday (2011) by David Blot and Jérémie Royer. In July 2019, Danny Boyle said he was not aware of any earlier works that had a similar premise when he read the script, but only recently became aware of a French film and British sitcom with a similar premise.
In the United States and Canada, the film was projected to gross $10–15 million from 2,603 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $6.1 million on its first day, including $1.25 million from Thursday night previews. The opening day audiences were mostly aged over 25 (75%), female (56%), and Caucasian (65%). It ended up slightly exceeding projections and debuting to $17 million, finishing third behind Toy Story 4 and Annabelle Comes Home. In its second weekend the film made $10.7 million, again finishing in third (behind Spider-Man: Far From Home and Toy Story 4), then grossed $6.8 million in its third weekend, falling to fifth.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 63% based on 292 reviews, with an average rating of 6.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Yesterday may fall short of fab, but the end result is still a sweetly charming fantasy with an intriguing—albeit somewhat under-explored—premise." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 56 out of 100, based on 43 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an 87% overall positive score and a 63% "definite recommend".
Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film four out of five stars, writing "although this film can be a bit hokey and uncertain on narrative development, the puppyish zest and fun summoned up by Curtis and Boyle carry it along." Robbie Collin also responded positively in his review for The Daily Telegraph, saying the film "rallies in style for a beautifully judged and surprisingly moving finale, which owes a lot to Patel and James's chemistry." Owen Gleiberman of Variety, meanwhile, was less enthusiastic, claiming the film had little soul and calling it a "rom-com wallpapered with the Beatles' greatness." Caillou Pettis scored the film a B- and stated “Yesterday boasts great performances all across the board and is exceptionally comedic, but falls flat due to its underexplored premise.”
- Isekai, a Japanese fantasy subgenre where a normal person gets transported to another world
- Mandela effect
- Parallel universes in fiction
- "Yesterday (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
- Itzkoff, Dave (28 June 2019). "The Long and Winding Road to 'Yesterday,' a Film Full of Beatles Music". New York Times.
- Grater, Tom. "The story behind Beatles film 'Yesterday': Richard Curtis, Danny Boyle, Working Title and a rising UK producer". Screen Daily. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
- McNary, Dave (14 March 2019). "Danny Boyle's Beatles Movie 'Yesterday' Selected as Tribeca Closing Night Film". Variety. ISSN 0042-2738. OCLC 810134503. Archived from the original on 31 March 2019. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
- "Danny Boyle's Lily James-Kate McKinnon Comedy Lands Fall 2019 Release".
- "Who Plays [SPOILER] In Yesterday?". ScreenRant. 28 June 2019. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
- Watson, R.T. (6 June 2019). "'Yesterday': The Real Story Behind The Beatles-Inspired Movie". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
- Browne, David (25 June 2019). "How 'Yesterday' Breathes New Life Into the Beatles' Music". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
- Itzkoff, Dave (28 June 2019). "The Long and Winding Road to 'Yesterday,' a Film Full of Beatles Music". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
- "Danny Boyle, Richard Curtis Team for Universal Comedy".
- Bamigboye, Baz (2 March 2018). "Yeah yeah yeah! Danny Boyle's filming a Beatles musical". Daily Mail. UK.
- Thompson, Anne (2 July 2019). "'Yesterday': Ed Sheeran's Smart Casting Advice Saved Danny Boyle's Beatles Rom-Com". IndieWire. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
- Rubin, Rebecca (25 June 2019). "Danny Boyle on 'Yesterday,' Leaving 'Bond 25' and Why the Beatles Still Rock". Variety. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
- "Does Himesh Patel sing and play guitar in Yesterday the movie?". Classic FM. 1 July 2019. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
- "Lily James in Talks to Star in Danny Boyle Comedy (Exclusive)".
- "Kate McKinnon in Talks to Join Lily James in Danny Boyle Comedy".
- Mottram, J. (2019). The Big Interview: Danny Boyle "The Academy Award-winning director on his new film, Yesterday, working with Richard Curtis, his childhood Beatles memories and his Bond 25 adventure... ". Picturehouse Recommends. May/June/July: 12-15.
- Wiseman, Andreas (15 April 2018). "Ed Sheeran In Talks For Danny Boyle-Richard Curtis Music-Themed Comedy Movie".
- Chitwood, Adam (15 April 2018). "Ed Sheeran in Talks to Join Danny Boyle's Beatles-Themed Musical Comedy". Collider. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (24 April 2018). "Ana de Armas Makes A Date With Danny Boyle Untitled Romantic Comedy".
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (27 April 2018). "'New Girl's Lamorne Morris Joins Universal's Danny Boyle-Richard Curtis Comedy".
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (8 May 2018). "Danny Boyle & Richard Curtis Untitled Romantic Comedy Adds Three".
- Freud, Emma (21 April 2018). "We began shooting our new movie today". Twitter. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- "Danny Boyle's new Beatles musical was being filmed in north Essex". Gazette.
- Bevan, Nathan (16 April 2018). "Ed Sheeran is rumoured to be in Danny Boyle's new film". walesonline. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
- Ryder, Alistair (15 May 2018). "Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis are looking for extras in Cambridgeshire".
- Hughes, Lorna (24 June 2019). "You can't make a film about The Beatles without going to Liverpool". liverpoolecho. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
- "IN THE PIPELINE: First Trailer For Danny Boyle & Writer Richard Curtis's Yesterday Ready & Arriving Very Soon". Trailer Track. 11 February 2019. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
- "Danny Boyle Feared 'Yesterday' Movie Might Upset the Beatles". Ultimate Classic Rock. 24 May 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
- Reyes, Mike (26 June 2019). "Yesterday Cut An Entire Character From The Film That Would Have Changed The Plot". CinemaBlend. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (19 September 2018). "Danny Boyle-Richard Curtis Musical Comedy Tunes Up For Summer 2019 Release – Update". Deadline.
- Hayes, Dade (14 March 2019). "Tribeca Slots Danny Boyle's 'Yesterday' As Closing-Night Film, Galas For Trey Anastasio Doc, 'Apocalypse Now,' 'Say Anything …'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
- Steward, Michael (21 June 2019). "Ed Sheeran attends Gorleston premiere of Beatles-inspired film Yesterday". East Anglian Daily Times.
- Hollywood Reporter [@thr] (13 February 2019). "'Yesterday' explores what would happen when only one man remembers The Beatles. Watch the trailer: t.co/kDmQW36pwW" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "Hollywood is hoping music biopics are their new golden ticket". The Week. 31 May 2019. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
- "Boku wa Beatles". MyAnimeList.net.
- "Boku wa Beatles". Manga Rock - Online Manga Reader.
- Thorpe, Vanessa (28 April 2019). "A world where the Beatles never existed inspires new Danny Boyle film". The Observer. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
- "« Yesterday » de Danny Boyle, calqué sur une BD française?". France Culture. 28 June 2019. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
- "Graphic Novel with Same Name & Premise as Danny Boyle's Yesterday Released Online for Free". pastemagazine.com.
- Keslassy, Elsa; Keslassy, Elsa (26 June 2019). "Graphic Novel 'Yesterday' From 2011 Similar to Danny Boyle Film Is Posted Online for Free". Variety. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
- "Vous en parlerez aujourd'hui. "Yesterday", un plagiat d'aujourd'hui ?". Franceinfo (in French). 3 July 2019. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (25 June 2019). "'Toy Story 4' Climbs To $135M+ Through 4-Days & Will Dominate Next Weekend Before 'Spider-Man' Swings In – Preview". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (30 June 2019). "'Toy Story 4' Holds Down No. 1 With $58M Before 'Spider-Man' Mania, 'Annabelle 3' Jump Scares To 31M+, 'Yesterday' $17M+ – Sunday Final". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (7 July 2019). "'Spider-Man: Far From Home' Hooks $185M 6-Day Opening Records For Sony & Independence Day Holiday Stretch". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (14 July 2019). "Counterprogramming 'Crawl' & 'Stuber' Collateral Damage In Superhero Summer As 'Spider-Man' Climbs To $45M+ – Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
- "Yesterday (2019) - International Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
- Grater, Tom (1 July 2019). "'Toy Story 4' comfortably holds off 'Yesterday' at UK box office". Screen Daily. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
- "Yesterday (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
- "Yesterday (2019) Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
- Bradshaw, Peter (5 May 2019). "Yesterday review". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
- Collin, Robbie (5 May 2019). "Yesterday review: Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis make a dream duo". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
- Gleiberman, Owen (4 May 2019). "'Yesterday' Review: A Fairy Tale in Which the Beatles Get Rebooted". Variety. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
- "YESTERDAY – Film Review". Caillou Pettis Movie Reviews. 29 June 2019. Retrieved 11 July 2019.