News: Michael Jackson 3-D Film Approved, Iconic Singer Headed To Big Screen

Tuesday, Aug 11, 2009 9:07AM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

A Los Angeles judge has approved Sony Pictures Entertainment's request to use over 80 hours of Michael Jackson footage for an upcoming movie slated to be released this fall.

The decision was made Monday (August 10) afternoon after weeks of negotiations.

Sony Pictures Entertainment received court approval to bring Michael Jackson to the big screen. The court's authorization, announced Monday in Probate Court by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff, allows them to edit more than 80 hours of rehearsal and behind-the-scenes footage into a movie. The deal was negotiated last month by Sony Pictures and its sibling unit, Sony Music Entertainment, with the Michael Jackson Estate and AEG Live, producer of the late singer's planned London concert series. The film, like the concerts, will be called This Is It. (Los Angeles Times)

According to the studio, the film will also feature 3-D segments.

"People who have seen this footage are astounded by the amazing quality of Michael Jackson's performance," said Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment. "This historic recording of the last time he sang and danced on stage shows the legendary artist in an incredibly powerful way, with crystal clear images and sound." (Associated Press)

The approving judge was given a strict deadline to make his decision on whether the film could be authorized.

Beckloff had until Monday to approve the film and allowed Jackson's mother, Katherine, to review the contracts and raise any objections. Katherine Jackson did not object to the film, but her attorneys have raised questions about other agreements concerning AEG Live and merchandiser Bravado. The estate wants to enter into agreements with the two companies for merchandising. (Billboard)

High School Musical director Kenny Ortega has reportedly signed on to the project.

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. 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)

This Is It is slated to land in theaters Friday, October 30th.

Check out a compilation of Michael Jackson's best dances below:

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