(Jacko as I’ll always remember him: singing along to R.Kelly in the backseat of Brett Ratner’s car)
Sony is paying $50 million dollars for 80 hours of Michael Jackson’s rehearsal footage, filmed while he prepared for his concert series in London.
The film will feature at least three videos, including an alternative version of Jackson’s “Thriller,” which were shot to be interstitial programming during the London concerts. The footage was meant to play in 3-D, but it’s unclear as yet whether the feature film will present it that way.
“High School Musical” director Kenny Ortega, who shot the rehearsal footage, is expected to direct the feature, and sources said he’s already beginning to put together the footage so Sony can release the film before year’s end.
Several studios were impressed when shown the footage by AEG last week. Fox, Universal, Paramount and Relativity likely would have met AEG’s asking price but knew that Sony Pictures had clear first position because sibling company Sony Music Entertainment owns music publishing rights to Jackson’s songs. [variety]
$50 million? Not even the biggest Michael Jackson fan alive would say the stuff he recorded when he was 50 years old and killing himself with drugs was his best work (clearly, the stuff he made when he was 11 and getting kicked in the nuts by his father was his best work). I imagine this was a decision that seemed like a good idea at the height of Jacko-death fever, but will wind up somewhere between Crystal Pepsi and giving Michael Phelps a book deal on the bad idea scale.