Movie Studios Bid on Michael Jackson Concert Footage
Several Hollywood movie studios, including Sony, Universal, Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox are in the midst of a bidding war for the rights to a rehearsal footage-based film from Michael Jackson's 'This Is It,' comeback concert series, which was scheduled to kick off in London this summer.
After several studios reviewed the footage last week, which features about 80 hours of Jackson fine-tuning his routines and stage show, Sony put in a $50 million bid on Monday in an attempt to control distribution rights of the footage. Since the bidding war is not complete, none of the studios have released comments on the project, but the studio with the winning bid would produce the film with AEG Live, Jackson's concert promoter. AEG lost an estimated $32 million producing Jackson's comeback concert series, which never came to fruition because of his sudden death on June 25.
By the nature of a bidding war, the studio with the highest offer will seal the deal, but Sony Pictures currently has the odds in their favor since Sony Music distributes Jackson's music and has a partnership with the late King of Pop's estate in Sony/ATV Music Publishing.
The benefits of the steep $50 million bid outweighs the risks for the entire Sony family, since the companies would make additional profit from already owning the music licensing rights to the film. While the studios battle for the rehearsal footage, AEG Live is also is talks with networks to produce a TV-special of Jackson's stage shows, that would also be directed by "This Is It" director Kenny Ortega, who is responsible for shooting all of the Jackson footage currently being pursued.