Warner Bros. has nabbed global rights to “Western Stars,” the upcoming music documentary co-directed by Bruce Springsteen. The film will be released on the big screen and will open in theaters this fall after its world premiere at September’s Toronto International Film Festival.
“Western Stars” is Springsteen’s first studio album in five years and the film marks his directorial debut. It weaves in archival footage along with Springsteen’s narration, and shows him performing all 13 songs on the album, alongside a band and a full orchestra, in a nearly 100-year-old barn on the singer’s property.
The film was also overseen by Thom Zimny, a frequent Springsteen collaborator. Zimny directed the Boss in “Springsteen on Broadway” and “Bruce Springsteen: Hunter of Invisible Game” (2014), and picked up a Grammy Award for “Wings on Wheels: The Making of Born to Run” (2005).
“Bruce lives in the super rarified air of artists who have blazed new and important trails deep into their careers,” said Toby Emmerich, chairman of Warner Bros. Picture Group. “With ‘Western Stars,’ Bruce is pivoting yet again, taking us with him on an emotional and introspective cinematic journey, looking back and looking ahead. As one of his many fans for over 40 years, I couldn’t be happier to be a rider on this train with Bruce and Thom.”
Warner Bros. has been in the Springsteen business before. The studio’s New Line label purchased the rights to “Blinded by the Light,” a drama about a Pakistani British teenager who finds solace in the rock star’s music, following its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. “Blinded by the Light” debuts in theaters on Friday. In a bit of synergy, fans will be treated to an exclusive first look at “Western Stars” in front of “Blinded by the Light.”
“Western Stars” was drawing intense interest from buyers weeks before Toronto officially kicks off. There had been rumors that Amazon or Netflix would buy the film, with Netflix especially singled out as a landing spot due to its prior release of “Springsteen on Broadway.”
“Western Stars” is written and performed by Springsteen, with special guest Patti Scialfa, a member of the E Street Band, as well as the singer and songwriter’s wife. Thom Zimny, Jon Landau, Barbara Carr and George Travis produced the film, with Springsteen serving as executive producer. The original score is by Springsteen.