Michael Jackson‘s estate distanced itself from two films about Jackson that are currently in progress on Monday, referring to the projects as “unauthorized” and potentially exploitative, according to Billboard. In addition, a statement from the Jackson estate indicated that it was developing its own Jackson-related movie content.
“To clear up any confusion or misperceptions about unsanctioned Michael Jackson projects currently in the news – including a Lifetime television movie and an animated film script recently purchased by Netflix – the Estate of Michael Jackson does not license or permit the use of any rights it owns, including to Michael’s music, images, video and films, for use in unauthorized works seeking to exploit Michael’s legacy,” the statement asserts.
Earlier this month, Lifetime released the first trailer for Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland. The protagonist is played by Navi, a professional Jackson impersonator, and the movie was adapted from Remember The Time: Protecting Michael Jackson In His Final Days, a volume penned by the star’s former bodyguards. Searching for Neverland is set for premiere on May 29.
In addition, Netflix recently showed interest in Bubbles, an unusual film that tells parts of Jackson’s story from the perspective of his pet chimpanzee, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s an idea that fascinates me and one I want to develop further,” said Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi, who signed on to direct Bubbles. “Most people know I’m a huge Michael Jackson fan, so the main thing for me is to make sure it’s respectful of him and his legacy,” Waititi added.
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Waititi’s words did not impress the Jackson estate. The executors announced that they have “numerous projects in development, all of which respect, honor and celebrate Michael’s life and legacy along with his extraordinary artistry that touched fans throughout the world.”
“When the executors are ready to announce them, they will,” the Jackson statement continued. “As Michael said countless times about his own work, the quality goes in before the name goes on.”