News: Michael Jackson Movie In Talks For Big Screen

Monday, Jul 20, 2009 1:00PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

A film on the late Michael Jackson is reportedly being considered by major movie companies and could possibly hit the big screen later this year.

While talks are still in progress, a DVD feature is also being considered.

All sides confirm that negotiations are underway between AEG, the Michael Jackson estate and Sony Music over a DVD or even theatrical release of the rehearsal footage shot by the company for the King of Pop?s short-circuited "This Is It" tour, which has been shown to both Rob Stringer and the film division's Amy Pascal, and is said by those who've seen it to be spectacular. Legal eagles John Branca and Joel Katz are representing the interests of the Jackson family and AEG in the discussions, which are expected to yield a done deal pretty quickly. (Hits Daily Double)

Information regarding the director of the footage and possible release dates have also landed online.

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. Ortega has the time, as he won't begin directing the Paramount remake of Footloose until next March, when star Chace Crawford is on hiatus from Gossip Girl. (Variety)

Jackson's film is reportedly being bidded over by various companies.

The proposed film project is rapidly moving forward into becoming a reality since Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox, as of Saturday, July 18, have emerged as the leading contenders in the bidding war for the filming rights. The rights to the project have been battled over by major studios like Viacom's Paramount/MTV, NBC Universal, Sony Music and Sony Pictures, and News Corp's 20th Century Fox/Fox Broadcasting Co. ever since AEG Live, the concert promoter behind Michael's canceled O2 concert, offered the late King of Pop's rehearsal material. Other sources indicated that Sony would likely win the bidding, partly because Sony Music has rights to Michael's music. (New York Times)

There are also talks of an upcoming television special being put together for broadcast later this year.

AEG is also selling the broadcast rights for a prime-time television special based around staging and choreography that Jackson personally created for his "This Is It" concerts. That property prompted fevered competition among television networks over the weekend. According to a person with knowledge of the deal, the special would be broadcast in September and it would be directed by Kenny Ortega. (Los Angeles Times)

No further information has been released as of today (July 20).

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