Disney Lands Elton John Documentary, ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’

Elton John documentary

Photo Credit: NRK P3 / CC by 2.0

Disney has purchased the rights to the feature documentary Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: The Final Elton John Performances and the Years That Made His Legend for around $30 million.

Created to serve as the official feature on Elton John, the documentary contains unseen concert footage over his 50-year career, present-day footage, and handwritten journal entries. Director and producer RJ Cutler and filmmaker David Furnish’s documentary sold to Disney for about $30 million. 

The film captures Elton John’s final months on tour, culminating in his last North American show at Dodger Stadium in November. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road will also cover the first five years of the artist’s career between 1970 and 1975, in which he released ten albums, seven of which reached number one on the Billboard charts.

“There are no superlatives left to describe Elton John and his impact on music and culture — he’s simply unrivaled,” says 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.”

“Elton and I could not think of a better collaborator than RJ Cutler for a film that represents more than just Elton’s career — it’s his life,” says filmmaker David Furnish, with whom Elton John has collaborated frequently. “From the Troubadour to Dodger Stadium, we knew that RJ 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.”

RJ Cutler’s directing and producing credits include the feature documentary Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, which sold to Apple TV+ for around $25 million. It was released last year to a select theatrical run.

“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,” says 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.”

Many of Elton John’s ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour dates, initially announced in 2018, were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They were postponed again in January after the singer fell ill, forcing him to reschedule many of his US tour dates.