The price that Sony Pictures will ultimately pay for the Michael Jackson movie?

Originally it was $60 million. But since the Jackson estate has backed off the idea of a televised memorial from London on August 29th, Sony is going to end up paying a higher price.’This may be because with NBC Universal willing at one point to pay $10 million for the TV project, Sony needs to keep that off the air to protect its movie’s market share.

The new price is said to be $75 million. And that’s not final yet. I’m told it could still go a little higher.

Sony declined comment.

“This Is It,” as the film is tentatively called, is still scheduled for an Oct. 30th release. The August 29th shows are dead, however. What may still be on is some kind of tribute Joseph Jackson wants to organize for the same date. He has no venue or production and is relying on’ex-con Leonard Rowe to produce it, so I’d wait on getting out my credit card just yet.

The movie, however, is turning into an event. “Everyone will go see it so they can make up their own minds,” says a source. “Was he sick? How did he look? Did he know this really was ‘it’?”

The feeling at Sony, which is intent on being the Michael Jackson company, is that Europe and Japan will be even bigger than America sales-wise. They’re probably right. Michael never lost his luster abroad.

Meanwhile, the executors of the Jackson estate were in court yesterday getting permission to do some licensing. They’re re-publishing Michael’s autobiography, “Moonwalk,” with Shaye Areheart Books. Areheart was assistant to Jackie Onassis back when she published the book at Doubleday. Other licenses were also approved, although I’m told the estate is playing it safe right now, and not doing too much. Just enough, they say.

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