Michael Jackson film: coming soon to a theater near you
By ANTHONY McCARTNEY
LOS ANGELES — Coming soon to a theater near you (if a judge agrees):
a full-length motion picture filled with footage of Michael Jackson’s last rehearsals.
The movie would come with all the elements of a
major studio release: product tie-ins, merchandising and even a
director’s cut and special editions.
But that’s only if a Los
Angeles probate judge approves the deal by Monday. The judge has
scheduled a hearing for Monday to see if Jackson’s mother, Katherine,
has any objections.
It was part of more than 500 pages of
documents related to Jackson’s estate case filed since Friday that were
made publicly available on Tuesday.
Last month, AEG President and
CEO Randy Phillips revealed that the company had more than 100 hours of
footage of preparations for Jackson’s series of 50 comeback concerts
scheduled for London’s O2 Arena.
proposed contract offers a glimpse at the possible film. Some of the
footage that could be used would be clips meant to be broadcast during
"If we all do our jobs right, we could probably
raise hundreds of millions of dollars just on the stuff we have
worldwide and then the estate could eradicate its debt," Phillips said
in early July.
The contract states Columbia Pictures paid $60 million for rights to the project.
deal was negotiated by two men who are administering Jackson’s estate,
longtime attorney John McClain and music executive and Jackson family
friend John McClain.
It calls for Jackson’s company to receive 90
percent of the film’s profits, with the remainder going to AEG Live.
Jackson’s stake would move into a private trust the singer ordered
established, of which his mother and three children are slated to
receive a combined 80 percent share. The remainder is designated for
The contract notes that Branca and McClain
may produce one or more tribute concerts to the King of Pop, and sets
out terms so that its broadcast doesn’t conflict with the film. The
contract doesn’t state which network, if any, has been selected to air
the tribute. A possible date for the concert’s airing has been redacted.
its creation is approved, the movie will have to meet the standards for
a PG rating and not run any longer than 150 minutes, the contract
It also states that the movie can’t include any footage
that is considered to paint Jackson in a bad light. The contract also
allows Columbia to work with companies on promotional tie-ins for the
films, but even that has limits. Prohibited tie-in products include
"alcohol, cleaning products, firearms, gambling, personal hygiene
products, pharmaceuticals," as well as those with religious, political
or tobacco ties.
Jackson’s company would be also be able to block
the creation of a new product marketing the film — the example of a
"happy meal toy" is given — according to the contract.
deadline for the judge’s approval isn’t the only tight timeline the
project faces. According to the contract, Columbia must screen the
movie for Jackson’s representatives no later than Oct. 2.