Theatrical release poster
Directed byDanny Boyle
Screenplay byRichard Curtis
Story by
Produced by
CinematographyChristopher Ross
Edited byJon Harris
Music byDaniel Pemberton
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release dates
  • 4 May 2019 (2019-05-04) (Tribeca)
  • 28 June 2019 (2019-06-28) (United Kingdom & United States)
Running time
116 minutes
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Budget$26–41.3 million[2][3]
Box office$154.6 million[2]

Yesterday is a 2019 musical romantic comedy film directed by Danny Boyle and written by Richard Curtis, based on a story by Jack Barth and Curtis. Himesh Patel stars as struggling musician Jack Malik who suddenly finds himself as the only person who remembers the Beatles and becomes famous for performing their songs. The film also stars Lily James, Joel Fry, Ed Sheeran, and Kate McKinnon.

Yesterday was announced in March 2018. Filming began the following month around England, particularly Norfolk and Halesworth in Suffolk. Photography also took place at Wembley Stadium, the Principality Stadium, and in Los Angeles. The filmmakers paid $10 million for the rights to use the Beatles' music. Although none of the band members were involved, Boyle received approval for the project from them or their families.

Yesterday had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in May 2019, and was released in the United Kingdom and the United States in June 2019, by Universal Pictures.[4] The film grossed $153 million worldwide against a production budget of $26 million. It received positive reviews from critics, with praise for the premise, performances, and musical sequences, but criticism for its familiarity and not exploring the concept further.


Jack Malik is a struggling singer-songwriter from Lowestoft who plays gigs to tiny audiences. His manager and childhood friend Ellie Appleton encourages him not to give up on his dreams. During a twelve-second global power outage, Jack is hit by a bus. After recovering, he sings the Beatles song "Yesterday" for his friends and discovers they have never heard of the Beatles.

After searching for the Beatles on the Internet and finding the band's records missing from his collection, Jack realizes that he is now living in a world where the group never formed. He begins performing Beatles songs, passing them off as his.

Ellie has Jack record a demo with Gavin, 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, a mathematics teacher who has parent-teacher conferences scheduled, declines to join him, so Jack's roadie friend Rocky travels with him instead. After the gig, Sheeran challenges Jack to a songwriting duel: after Jack plays "The Long and Winding Road," Sheeran graciously accepts defeat.

In Los Angeles, Sheeran's ruthless manager Debra Hammer signs Jack to her label and engineers his rise to global fame. At Jack's going-away party before his move to Los Angeles, Ellie confesses that she has always been in love with him. Jack starts recording an album at EastWest Studios, but cannot remember the lyrics for "Eleanor Rigby". Hoping to trigger memories, Jack goes to the Beatles' hometown of Liverpool, visiting landmarks such as Strawberry Field, Penny Lane, and the grave of Eleanor Rigby.

Ellie joins Jack in Liverpool, and they share a drunken evening and kiss, but she 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 congratulates Jack but tells him she cannot be a part of his celebrity life. He returns to Los Angeles heartbroken and desperate to have an everyday life again, while Ellie begins dating Gavin.

The record label prepares to launch Jack's debut album, but reject his title ideas—taken from Beatles albums—and names it One Man Only, pushing his talent. Jack persuades them to launch the album with a rooftop concert in Gorleston-on-Sea.

Two people who also recall the Beatles approach him backstage. They tell him they know he did not write the songs, but thank him, having feared the Beatles' music was gone forever. They give him the address of John Lennon, who, having never formed the Beatles in this reality, has lived a long, happy life with his wife out of the public spotlight. Jack then visits John, who advises him to pursue the one he loves and always tell the truth.

Jack calls in a favour with Sheeran, who arranges for him to perform at Wembley Stadium. Jack confesses to the crowd that he plagiarized the music and loves Ellie, and has Rocky upload the songs free on the internet, sabotaging the record release and enraging Debra. Jack and Ellie return to her home and make love. Afterwards, Jack mentions Harry Potter, but Ellie has no idea who he is talking about. A quick Internet search reveals nothing about the boy wizard, and Jack says nevermind. Jack and Ellie start a family, and he gives up stardom to become a music teacher.


In addition, James Corden and Michael Kiwanuka appear as themselves, and Robert Carlyle makes an uncredited appearance as a 78-year-old contented John Lennon.[5]



Yesterday began as a 2012 screenplay, Cover Version, by the American writer Jack Barth.[6] Barth had been struggling to sell screenplays for decades. He conceived the story when it occurred to him that if Star Wars had not been created and he conceived it, he would not be able to sell it.[6] In Barth's script, a "meditation on professional disappointment", Jack did not find success with the Beatles songs.[6]

The British actor Mackenzie Crook worked on an early version of the script, and intended to direct the film.[7] He left to work on his television series Detectorists.[8] The script was passed to the production company Working Title. Years later, while working on clearance rights for the Beatles songs, a Working Title producer mentioned the screenplay to the British filmmaker Richard Curtis, who bought it and rewrote it as a romantic comedy.[6] On Curtis's insistence,[6] the screenplay is credited to Curtis and the story credited to Curtis and Barth.[9]

Curtis told interviewers he did not read Barth's script, preferring to use the premise to write his own version.[6] He told Den of Geek: "I sometimes found when I worked with original material that it doesn't come from the heart. So I tried to write a whole film that meant something to me, rather than having too much extra information."[10] However, according to Barth, the final film includes many elements of his screenplay, including John Lennon as a wizened fisherman and a joke about Harry Potter.[6] Curtis credited the Harry Potter joke to a suggestion from the American comedian Sarah Silverman, who is thanked in the credits.[6]

Barth complained that Curtis had taken sole credit for the screenplay and damaged him financially.[6] He felt that Curtis had changed the story to make Jack a successful songwriter as a reflection of Curtis's own career: "[Curtis] met Rowan Atkinson at Oxford, he came out of Oxford and immediately rode Rowan Atkinson to huge success in his early twenties. He's never been knocked out, as far as I know. Why wouldn't [Jack] become the most successful songwriter in the world?"[6]


In March 2018, it was announced that Curtis and the director Danny Boyle were working on a musical comedy set in the 1960s or 1970s following "a struggling musician who thinks he's the only person who can remember the Beatles", with Himesh Patel cast in the lead role.[11] Boyle was convinced Patel was the right choice after listening to him perform the Beatles songs "Yesterday" and "Back in the U.S.S.R." during auditions.[12] Boyle felt that Patel's voice had soul.[13] Patel sang and performed guitar and piano himself.[14]

Later in March 2018, Lily James and Kate McKinnon joined the cast.[15][16] Boyle informed the surviving members and widows of the Beatles about the film and received a reply he described as "lovely" from Beatles drummer Ringo Starr.[17] In April 2018, it was revealed that Ed Sheeran had joined the cast.[18][19] Sheeran's role was originally intended for the Coldplay singer Chris Martin, who turned it down.[13] Sheeran said Harry Styles was also asked, which Boyle denied.[20] Ana de Armas and Lamorne Morris joined later in April,[21][22] followed by Sophia Di Martino, Joel Fry and Harry Michell in May.[23]


Filming began on 21 April 2018,[24] with production in the United Kingdom starting on 26 April 2018, with scenes filmed across East Anglia in Cantley, Halesworth, Dunwich, Shingle Street, at the Latitude Festival, and at Clacton-on-Sea.[25] 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.[26] A further 5,000 extras appeared in scenes at Gorleston-on-Sea Beach in Norfolk in June 2018.[27] Wembley Stadium was also used to film a concert scene.[17] Filming also took place in Liverpool, making use of Penny Lane, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Lime Street Station and the Queensway Tunnel.[28]

Ana de Armas appeared in the trailer but not the film, resulting in a fan lawsuit

In February 2019, it was announced that the title of the film was Yesterday.[29] 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.[30] Scenes with de Armas, who played another love interest for Jack, were cut as test audiences felt it made Jack less sympathetic.[31] Ana de Armas appeared in some of the early promotional material before the final edit was made, which led to a $5m lawsuit in the US[32] when two fans claimed they were "duped into renting the [$3.99] movie because she [de Armas] was in the trailer".[33] A federal judge allowed the class-action lawsuit to proceed in December 2022, stating that "At its core, a trailer is an advertisement designed to sell a movie by providing consumers with a preview of the movie."[34] On August 28, 2023, U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that the "injury is self-inflicted" and thus no standing to sue.[35]


The first official trailer of the film was released on 12 February 2019.[36] The film had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on 4 May 2019.[37] A local screening of the film took place at the Gorleston Palace cinema on 21 June 2019.[38] Universal spent $75.4 million promoting the film worldwide.[3]


Box office

Yesterday grossed $73.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $80.4 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $153.7 million, against a production budget of $26 million.[2] This includes over £13.8 million ($17.8 million) grossed in the United Kingdom.[39][40]

In the United States and Canada, the film was projected to gross $10–15 million from 2,603 theatres in its opening weekend.[41] The film made $6.1 million on its first day, including $1.25 million from Thursday night previews. It ended up slightly exceeding projections and debuting to $17 million, finishing third behind Toy Story 4 and Annabelle Comes Home.[42] In its second weekend the film made $10.7 million, again finishing in third (behind Spider-Man: Far From Home and Toy Story 4),[43] then grossed $6.8 million in its third weekend, falling to fifth.[44] In other territories, the film opened to $7.8 million, including $2.8 million in the United Kingdom (where it finished second behind Toy Story 4) and $2.5 million in Australia.[45][46]

Deadline Hollywood calculated the net profit of the film to be $45 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues.[47] Universal officially took an $87.8 million loss on the film in 2019, which Deadline deduced would eventually result in a $26.5 million profit after TV and video sales (an estimated $78.4 million by early 2020) were taken into account.[3]

Critical response

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 63% of 358 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.4/10. The website's critics 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."[48] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 55 out of 100, based on 45 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[49]

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."[50] 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."[51] 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."[52] Laura Snapes of The Guardian called Yesterday "the latest jukebox movie to put its women on mute."[53]

Beatles' response

Paul McCartney revealed in an interview with Billboard that he and his wife Nancy Shevell went to see the film in a cinema in The Hamptons and "loved it".[54] Boyle also sent copies of the completed film to Ringo Starr and his wife Barbara, as well as George Harrison's widow Olivia, and received "lovely messages" from both parties.[55] John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, also approved of the film's depiction of her late husband.[56]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipients Result
Awards of the Japanese Academy March 6, 2020 Best Foreign Film Yesterday Nominated
Blue Ribbon Awards 22 January 2020 Best Foreign Film Yesterday Nominated
Golden Trailer Awards 29 June 2019 Best Music Universal Pictures and

Motive NYC

Goya Awards January 25, 2020 Best European Film YesterdayDanny Boyle Nominated
Hollywood Music in Media Awards 9 November 2019 Outstanding Music Supervision – Film Angela Leus Nominated
Best Soundtrack Album Yesterday Nominated
Montclair Film Festival May, 2019 World Cinema Danny Boyle Won
Music City Film Critics' Association Awards 10 January 2020 Best Music Film Yesterday Nominated
Toronto International Film Festival September, 2019 People's Choice Award Favorite Comedy Movie Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society 9 December 2019 Best Use of Music in a Film Yesterday Nominated
St. Louis Film Critics Association 15 December 2019 Best Soundtrack Yesterday Nominated
Special Merit (for best scene, cinematic technique or other memorable aspect or moment) Jack visits cottage. Nominated
Saturn Awards September 13, 2019 Best Fantasy Film Yesterday Nominated
Teen Choice Awards August 11, 2019 Choice Summer Movie Yesterday Nominated
Choice Summer Movie Actor Himesh Patel Nominated
World Soundtrack Awards 12 August 2019 Film Composer of the Year Daniel Pemberton Nominated


As remarked upon in the media, a number of other works have had a similar premise or theme[57][58] involving parallel worlds or time travel. The 2010 Japanese manga I'm a Beatle (僕はビートルズ, Boku wa Bītoruzu) by Tetsuo Fujii and Kaiji Kawaguchi,[59] involves an almost identical concept of a musician travelling back in time to 1961 and being surprised when he plays "Yesterday" and no one knows of the Beatles, and he similarly plays their material and is successful. Others include the 2011 French graphic novel Yesterday by David Blot and Jérémie Royer (the title, again, alluding to the Beatles song),[60][61][62] the 1990s British sitcom Goodnight Sweetheart,[63] the 2006 French film Jean-Philippe,[64][65] and Nick Milligan's 2013 novel Enormity.[66] Danny Boyle has said he was not aware of earlier works with similar premises when he read the script but had later become aware of a French film and British sitcom with a similar premise after the film's first trailer was revealed.[13]

See also


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  2. ^ a b c "Yesterday (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  3. ^ a b c D'Alessandro, Anthony (5 May 2020). "'Yesterday' Net Profit Statement Shows It's The Same Old Song On Hollywood Accounting". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  4. ^ McClintock, Pamela (16 April 2018). "Danny Boyle's Lily James-Kate McKinnon Comedy Lands Fall 2019 Release". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  5. ^ Orquiola, John (28 June 2019). "Who Plays [SPOILER] In Yesterday?". Screen Rant. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "How One 'Yesterday' Screenwriter's Dream Became A Nightmare". UPROXX. 2 May 2020. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  7. ^ Watson, R. T. (6 June 2019). "'Yesterday': The Real Story Behind The Beatles-Inspired Movie". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  8. ^ Browne, David (25 June 2019). "How 'Yesterday' Breathes New Life Into the Beatles' Music". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  9. ^ "Yesterday credits row shows trouble's never far away in film writing". The Guardian. 31 May 2020. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  10. ^ "How Yesterday Imagines a World Without the Beatles". Den of Geek. 1 July 2019. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  11. ^ Kit, Borys (1 March 2018). "Danny Boyle, Richard Curtis Team for Universal Comedy". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  12. ^ Rubin, Rebecca (25 June 2019). "Danny Boyle on 'Yesterday,' Leaving 'Bond 25' and Why the Beatles Still Rock". Variety. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  13. ^ a b c Thompson, Anne (2 July 2019). "'Yesterday': Ed Sheeran's Smart Casting Advice Saved Danny Boyle's Beatles Rom-Com". IndieWire. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  14. ^ "Does Himesh Patel sing and play guitar in Yesterday the movie?". Classic FM. 1 July 2019. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  15. ^ Kit, Borys (8 March 2018). "Lily James in Talks to Star in Danny Boyle Comedy (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  16. ^ Kit, Borys (30 March 2018). "Kate McKinnon in Talks to Join Lily James in Danny Boyle Comedy". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  17. ^ a b Mottram, James (26 April 2019). "The Big Interview: Danny Boyle". Picturehouse. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  18. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (15 April 2018). "Ed Sheeran In Talks For Danny Boyle-Richard Curtis Music-Themed Comedy Movie". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  19. ^ Chitwood, Adam (15 April 2018). "Ed Sheeran in Talks to Join Danny Boyle's Beatles-Themed Musical Comedy". Collider. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  20. ^ "Ed Sheeran says he was "third choice" for role in 'Yesterday'". NME. 29 May 2021. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  21. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (24 April 2018). "Ana de Armas Makes A Date With Danny Boyle Untitled Romantic Comedy". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
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  23. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (8 May 2018). "Danny Boyle & Richard Curtis Untitled Romantic Comedy Adds Three". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  24. ^ Freud, Emma [@emmafreud] (21 April 2018). "We began shooting our new movie today" (Tweet). Retrieved 22 July 2018 – via Twitter.
  25. ^ Wilkin, Chris (26 April 2018). "Danny Boyle's new Beatles musical was being filmed in north Essex". Daily Gazette. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  26. ^ Bevan, Nathan (16 April 2018). "Ed Sheeran is rumoured to be in Danny Boyle's new film". WalesOnline. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  27. ^ Ryder, Alistair (15 May 2018). "Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis are looking for extras in Cambridgeshire". CambridgeshireLive. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  28. ^ Hughes, Lorna (24 June 2019). "You can't make a film about The Beatles without going to Liverpool". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  29. ^ "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.
  30. ^ Kielty, Martin (24 May 2019). "Danny Boyle Feared 'Yesterday' Movie Might Upset the Beatles". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  31. ^ Reyes, Mike (26 June 2019). "Yesterday Cut An Entire Character From The Film That Would Have Changed The Plot". CinemaBlend. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  32. ^ "BBC News – Fans sue Universal Pictures over film without Ana de Armas". 23 January 2022. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  33. ^ Maddaus, Gene (22 January 2022). "Ana de Armas Fans Sue Because She Was Cut Out of 'Yesterday'". Variety.
  34. ^ Patton, Dominic (21 December 2022). "No False Advertising! Ana de Armas' Absence From 'Yesterday' Flick Puts Trailers In Legal Spotlight". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 21 December 2022.
  35. ^ Cho, Winston (29 August 2023). "Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Claiming Universal Duped Ana de Armas Fans Into Watching "Yesterday"". Retrieved 30 November 2023.
  36. ^ @THR (12 February 2019). "'Yesterday' explores what would happen when only one man remembers the Beatles. Watch the trailer: https://t.yco/kDmQW36pwW" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  37. ^ 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.
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  43. ^ 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.
  44. ^ 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.
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  51. ^ Collin, Robbie (5 May 2019). "Yesterday review: Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis make a dream duo". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  52. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (4 May 2019). "'Yesterday' Review: A Fairy Tale in Which the Beatles Get Rebooted". Variety. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
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  54. ^ Levine, Robert (14 November 2019). "Paul McCartney on Life, Art and Business After the Beatles". Billboard. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
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  56. ^ Hough, Q. V. (30 June 2019). "Yesterday's Surprise Cameo Proves What The Movie Is Really About". Screen Rant. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  57. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (2 June 2019). "Graphic Novel 'Yesterday' From 2011 Similar to Danny Boyle Film Is Posted Online for Free". Variety. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  58. ^ Erbland, Kate (2 June 2019). "'Yesterday': Danny Boyle's Beatles-Centric Movie Shares Similarities With Two Different Novels". IndieWire. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  59. ^ "Boku wa Beatles". Manga Rock – Online Manga Reader. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  60. ^ Sicurella, Savannah (26 June 2019). "Graphic Novel with Same Name & Premise as Danny Boyle's Yesterday Released Online for Free". Paste. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  61. ^ Pernin, Jean-Mathieu (3 July 2019). "Vous en parlerez aujourd'hui. "Yesterday", un plagiat d'aujourd'hui?". Franceinfo: (in French). Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  62. ^ "'Yesterday' de Danny Boyle, calqué sur une BD française?". France Culture (in French). 28 June 2019. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  63. ^ 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.
  64. ^ Tinnirello, Milan (25 August 2019). "Yesterday: Un film sur le plagiat… Plagie; [Trans: Yesterday: A film about plagiarism ... Plagiarised]". Londres Magazine (in French). Retrieved 14 March 2021.
  65. ^ Travers, James (2008). "Review of the film Jean-Philippe (2006)". Retrieved 14 March 2021.
  66. ^ Hinchliffe, Jessica (18 February 2019). "Australian author 'shattered' that his 2013 novel has resemblance to new film Yesterday". ABC News. Archived from the original on 12 February 2020.