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Trailer for Mr. Saturday Night directed by John Maggio
Mr. Saturday Night directed by John Maggio

HBO documentary Mr. Saturday Night, directed by John Maggio (HBO’s “A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks”) and executive produced by The Ringer’s Bill Simmons (HBO’s “Andre The Giant,” “Showbiz Kids”), chronicles the meteoric career of Australian entrepreneur Robert Stigwood, who gambled on a magazine article about the Brooklyn night club scene and turned it into the 1977 cultural touchstone “Saturday Night Fever,” making a global superstar out of John Travolta and reinvigorating disco with a platinum selling soundtrack anchored by four number-one hits from the Bee Gees.

Mr. Saturday Night tracks Stigwood’s journey from managing artists such as Eric Clapton and the Bee Gees, to producing the hit theater productions of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Tommy” and “Evita,” to forever changing the way film studios approached movie soundtrack synergy, leaving an indelible mark on American cinema and the record industry for decades to come.

An official selection of DOC NYC 2021, Mr. Saturday Night debuts Thursday, December 9 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.

Brimming with the sights and sounds of the era and hearing from many of the key players at the time, Mr. Saturday Night details Robert Stigwood’s rise on the music scene in Britain in the 60s, and his years of cultural dominance in America as a manager, producer and taste-making genius. His crowning achievement was optioning a gritty New York Magazine article by Nik Cohn titled “Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night” and taking on the leadership of Paramount Pictures who never quite believed in the “little disco movie.” In a prescient coup, he signed TV actor John Travolta and married the rhythmic dance music of the Bee Gees to the resulting movie. While often remembered as a beat-happy story of disco dancing, “Saturday Night Fever” captured the zeitgeist of disaffected youth struggling to break free of their milieu.

As well as telling the story of the genesis and production of “Saturday Night Fever,” Mr. Saturday Night tracks the colorful history of disco, its origins as a liberating form of entertainment for mainly Black and gay men, to its rise in popularity and acceptance by the mainstream. The Stigwood-produced movie and best-selling double-album soundtrack reinvigorated the life of disco which would fade away at the end of the 70s with Disco Demolition Night in Chicago and the rise of punk and rock music. After an unprecedented period of dominance, Stigwood experienced a string of unsuccessful projects, leading him to retire early and enjoy the financial benefits of his earlier success.

A self-proclaimed gambler who acted on instinct, an impresario and astute dealmaker, Robert Stigwood created the modern-day movie soundtrack business model, proving himself a visionary at predicting cultural tastes and trends. Mr. Saturday Night is a vibrant portrayal of the man behind the musical that stands at the apotheosis of the disco generation.

Following “Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage,” “Jagged,” “DMX: Don’t Try To Understand,” and “Listening To Kenny G,” the Music Box series also includes “Juice WRLD: Into The Abyss,” an intimate and often eye-opening exploration of the life and all-too-short career of wunderkind rapper Juice WRLD, directed by Tommy Oliver and debuting December 16.

Watch the official trailer for Mr. Saturday Night.

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