According to documents that were revealed during the August 3rd hearing over Michael Jackson’s estate, Columbia Pictures, a subsidiary of Sony Pictures, has an offer to purchase the rights for the film featuring Jackson’s This Is It concert rehearsals for $60 million, the AP reports. Final approval of the deal is pending the consent of Jackson’s mother Katherine. Another hearing on the subject has been scheduled for next Monday, August 10th.
Under the terms of the deal, 90 percent of the film’s profits will go to the Michael Jackson Family Trust — with 80 percent of that figure going to Jackson’s children and mother according to Jackson’s 2002 will — and the other 10 percent will go to AEG Live, the concert promoter producing Jackson’s massive This Is It run of 50 concerts at London’s O2 Arena. The more than 100 hours of rehearsal footage comes from Jackson’s time at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, where Jackson practiced a full run-through in the nights before his sudden death on June 25th.
The contract also opens the door for potential tie-ins, like merchandising deals, a director’s cut of the film and special editions. According to the AP, the deal also allows for Jackson’s co-executors John Branca and John McClain to produce one or more television tribute concerts to the King of Pop, as long as those concerts don’t interfere with the film. There are numerous conditions that the film must adhere to: It must secure a PG-rating and it can run no longer than 150 minutes, nor can it show Jackson in a negative fashion in any way, the AP writes. The contract also calls for an October 2nd deadline for the film to be completed edited and screened for Jackson reps, so the film could potentially reach theatres by year’s end.
As Rock Daily previously reported, AEG Live unveiled some potential footage from the final rehearsals with a clip of Jackson and his backup dancers performing “They Don’t Care About Us” from the This Is It! rehearsals. All four major studios competed for the rights to the rehearsal film, but as Sony is home to Jackson’s music catalog, it made the most sense for the film to be distributed through the company’s Columbia Pictures.
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