The cruel irony of Michael Jackson’s death is reflected in the boxoffice.
The movie about Jackson’s rehearsals for shows that never took place, “This Is It,” hit $240 million worldwide this weekend. That gives Jackson the biggest concert film and documentary ever. Jackson’s kids will wind up very wealthy from this film thanks to his executors. Remember, Sony paid a $60 million advance. The footage from all those rehearsals has become a bonanza. And this column told you first that AEGLive had 100 hours of it. ‘That was back on June 29th, four days after Michael was killed.
Of course, all Jackson ever wanted was to somehow get into the film business.
Back in 1991, he actually “stole” back the finished tapes for his “Invincible” album in June of that year. He held them for ransom until he got a part in Barry Sonnenfeld’s “Men in Black II.” In the end, he got his way. Sony got him the part, “Invincible” was finally released, and the following year Michael had a cameo in the movie.
Through the years, Jackson was easily taken in by anyone who promised him a film role. He was constantly accessible if an indie producer showed up with a hare-brained scheme to start a production company with Jackson’s money ‘ or just his name, as his cash ran out.
Jackson has a weird role in a little-seen DVD release called “Miss Cast Away,” written and produced by Bryan Michael Stoller.
He also made a deal with Prince Abdulla of Bahrain to make movies, then reneged but kept the Prince’s $7 million advance.
By the way, if you want to see one of Jackson’ s major dance influences, check out this clip from YouTube that marries “Billie Jean” to Bob Fosse’s 1974 choreography/performance from Stanley Donen’s “The Little Prince.” Add a little James Brown, and voila! you have Michael Jackson.
As for “This Is It,” Sony would love to say the movie got to $250 million. That would mean leaving it in theaters through the end of the year. The DVD release is set for January 26th.