UPDATED “MJ: The Michael Jackson Musical” was supposed to open in the summer of 2020. When Broadway shut down in March 2020, “MJ” was not selling well. There were a lot of questions about the sustainability of the show after a critical and panned documentary about Jackson aired on HBO. A lot of clouds hung over Michael Jackson’s legacy.
UPDATED: The producers say they were very happy with the advance sale.
And then came the pandemic. Now “MJ” will open this winter, a year and a half later. Ironically, the pandemic might have been the best thing that ever happened.
The documentary, “Leaving Neverland,” came and went in March 2019. The ratings weren’t great. And many lawsuits emerged. The documentary was widely discredited by fans. And the principals saw their cases against Jackson’s estate dismissed from court.
A lawsuit brought by the Jackson estate against HBO will go to court ordered arbitration. The arbitrator will certainly know about the dismissals of Wade Robson’s and Jimmy Safechuck’s cases.
This week, a court ruled for the Estate in a major tax case. The government said the Estate owed $700 million based on much was earned after Jackson died in 2009. They said he was worth that much at his death. The Estate argued Michael’s image and career were worth about $7 million in June 2009. The IRS said the number was over $1 billion. A final ruling was the amount of $4 million.
Time has been kind to the producers of “MJ.” They probably should have waited a couple of years anyway. But now “MJ” can open without a cloud over it. The musical will encompass Michael’s early life, childhood, the Jackson 5 and his life through “Thriller.” The musical will end with everyone singing “Billie Jean” and dancing out of the theater.
Sanitized? Yes. Who cares? Naysayers can beat it.