The Michael Jackson estate and Sony Pictures Entertainment announced today that This Is It, a film comprised of rehearsal and behind-the-scenes footage of Jackson preparing for his 50-concert run at London's O2 Arena, will be released in movie theaters on October 30th. As Rock Daily reported last week, the two sides struck a deal to release the footage, and were only awaiting the approval of a judge overseeing the Jackson estate case.
According to a press release, the majority of the footage for This Is It was shot in the weeks before Jackson's June 25th death, when rehearsals for the London shows were staged at Los Angeles' Forum and Staples Center. Proceeds the Jackson estate receives from the film will go to the Michael Jackson Family Trust, with 80 percent benefiting Jackson's children and mother. Randy Phillips and Paul Gongaware of AEG Live, the concert promoter who were producing the This Is It concerts, will serve as producers on the This Is It film.
"The world will see what our team was so fortunate to experience, which was the full commitment, passion and creativity that Michael put into this project. He was the architect of This Is It, and we were his builders," said Kenny Ortega, who was the director of the planned This Is It concerts, in a statement. "It will also show Michael as one of the greatest entertainers in the world and one of the industry's most creative minds. This Is It was Michael's last theatrical work and although it was still a work in progress, I think the footage will show that the process was something that Michael deeply enjoyed and that it was clear that he was on his way to another theatrical triumph.
As Rock Daily previously reported, the deal with Sony was contingent on multiple factors. First, the film is required to be no longer than 150 minutes and must secure a PG rating. Also, the film can in no way show Jackson in a negative light, and a final cut of must be presented to the Jackson estate by October 2nd. Considering that there's an estimated 100 hours of footage from the rehearsals — all filmed in high-definition and digital sound — that's no small feat. The deal with Sony Pictures will also include a soundtrack, a director's cut of the film and two special-edition DVDs.
In addition to the concert footage, select theaters will include some of the 3-D sequences that Jackson had planned for his This Is It concerts. Additionally, the film will also feature interviews from Jackson's friends and collaborators and a retrospective over the King of Pop's career. Fans are encouraged to keep eyes on the MichaelJackson.com Website as more information and clips from the upcoming film become available.
• Report: Columbia Pictures Scores Jackson Rehearsal Footage
• Studios Scramble to Bring Jackson "This Is It" Rehearsals to Theaters
• Michael Jackson Photos From "This Is It!" Rehearsals Emerge
To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here
MUSIC 9 Classic Devo Videos
OLYMPICS 18 Epic Opening Ceremonies