Up until now, Screen Rant has had no real reason to report on the death of worldwide mega-superstar Michael Jackson. His passing on June 25th, 2009, while extremely tragic and quite sad, just didn't hold a place in the world of movie news. He was after all, the "King of Pop", not the "King of the Screen". His music videos during the later 80's and early 90's could have very well of been short films, but as he aged and became the focus of bad publicity, those videos became a thing of the past.
Things have changed in the past couple of days that makes this news movie worthy; Jackson's estate and concert promoter AEG Live have forged a deal with Sony to release a behind-the-scenes style film this fall. Sony is paying $60 million dollars to release This Is It, which is titled after Michael Jackson's last world tour that he never finished. The film will use some of the hundreds of hours of footage shot during rehearsals in the month of June at both the Staples Center in L.A and the Forum in Inglewood. Think VH1 Behind the Music only longer.
Kenny Ortega (High School Musical) is directing the feature which will be in HDe and in some parts 3-D. I'm not sure why a rehearsal footage movie warrants a 3-D effect but since 3-D is the new red, it doesn't surprise me in the least to hear that.
If you are a wondering whether the movie will address any of Jackson's shortcomings, the contract requires the movie to be screened for Jackson's estate before release. The movie is not allowed to show the "King of Pop" in a manner that would be considered negative. So just like a true Hollywood film, the movie will be a fantasy. One thing I do not understand is why a judge had to sign off on the movie deal? Don't lawyers usually just work contract issues out amongst themselves?
Jackson's attorney, John Branca and music executive John McClain (no, not Bruce Willis) - both special administers for Jackson's estate - CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment Michael Lynton and several other Sony big shots were there to soak up the media spotlight by announcing the judge's decision. Branca had this sound bite to give:
"Our goal is to work with partners who treat Michael's legacy with dignity and respect, while allowing us to substantially build the value of his estate for the benefit of Mrs. Katherine Jackson, Michael's three children and the charitable causes that meant so much to him during his life."
The attorney's fee on $60 million dollars probably never entered his mind. (Eye Roll)
Not to be out done in the "Look what I can say" category, Lynton added this:
"People who have seen this footage are astounded by the amazing quality of Michael Jackson's performance. This historic recording of the last time he sang and danced on stage shows the legendary artist in an incredibly powerful way, with crystal clear images and sound. We understand the importance of producing a film that pays tribute to Michael as an artist, and are honored to work with the estate of Michael Jackson to give audiences the gift of his final performances."
In other words, "I'm stoked about how much cash we are going to make off this worldwide." Jackson had the leeches hanging on to him in life and the vultures swarming down in death. It's quite sad, really.
I found my two favorite Michael Jackson clips from when I was a kid and have posted them below. The first is Disney's Epcot 3-D short film Captain EO. Living in Florida, I remember seeing this the summer it opened and thinking "Wow! This is the coolest thing ever!" Next is the trailer for Jackson's only full length feature film, Moonwalker. Hope you enjoy them.
Are you going to break out the multi-zipper jacket, surgical mask and glitter glove to watch This Is It or would you rather go watch the Jonas Brothers in 3-D?
This Is It moonwalks its way into theaters October 30, 2009.
Source: Hollywood Reporter