Warner Bros. Set To Distribute Peter Jackson’s Highly Acclaimed WWI Doc ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’

They Shall Not Grow Old
Image Courtesy of WigNut Films

Those who follow the world of movie news closely, may have seen an odd little title popping up over the past few weeks. They Shall Not Grow Old first appeared out of nowhere, at the tail end of August. That was followed  by an announced world premiere at BFI  London Film Fest. Where the WWI documentary from Peter Jackson was met with thunderous acclaim. Now, it turns out the rest of the world will get to see what all the fuss is about. Deadline has revealed that Warner Bros. has won a bid for the doc’s world wide distribution.

So what makes the feature so enticing to a studio whose dabble into non-fiction has mostly been IMAX nature programs? Well, that’s more easily understood once you’ve seen the following.

That’s breathtakingly stunning. They Shall Not Grow Old sees Peter Jackson doing what he does best, moving technology with films forward. While nothing is truly radical here, it’s the level of work and detail that see him crafting something monumental. Transforming 100 year old black and white footage to color and then converting it to stereoscopic 3D is no easy task. From that small snippet of footage though, it appears well worth it.

Jackson began working on the documentary several years ago, eyeing a half hour run time. The passion project was born out of a desire to honor his British grandfather fought in WWI, as well as his partner Fran Walsh’s uncle. They Shall Not Grow Old‘s scope when directorial reigns for Mortal Engines was handed over to Christian Rivers. A film Jackson and Walsh co-wrote. Combing through 100 hours of mostly unseen footage from the Imperial War Museum and 600 hours of audio recordings of soldiers, the doc now runs around 100 minutes.

As of yet, no set release date has been confirmed for the US or other countries. Yet there’s a chance the doc lands before the end of the year. After all, it has a trailer and distributor already in place. Since it missed the October 1st filing date for Oscar eligibility, there’s certainly no rush. If that means letting this stand on it’s own laurels, all the better. Meanwhile, those in UK can see the program on BBC in December. Whenever They Shall Not Grow Old does get released around the world, it’ll be the kind of monumental achievement that deserves to be witnessed on the big screen. We’ll bring more information your way, as it becomes available.


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