"Sony Pictures is close to a deal to make a feature film on Michael Jackson drawing on the 80 hours of rehearsal footage filmed for concerts Jackson was preparing to perform in London.
The studio is expected to pay more than $50 million for worldwide rights to AEG Entertainment, which owns the footage and showed it to studios last week.
The film will feature at least three videos, including an alternate version of Jackson's 'Thriller', which were shot to be interstitial programming during the London concerts. The footage was meant to play in 3D, but it's unclear as yet whether the feature fim will present it that way.
High School Musical director Kenny Ortega, who shot the rehearsal footage, is expected to direct the feature, and sources say he's already beginning to put together the footage so Sony can release the film before year's end.
Sony Pictures' sibling company Sony Music Entertainment owns music publishing rights to Jackson's songs."
The Michael Jackson rehearsal footage? Featuring a new 3D version of Thriller? Count me in!!
Although I think it's sort of ironic on account of what Jackson thought of Sony (via Wikipedia):
"...At the time, Jackson was waiting for the licenses to the masters of his albums to revert to him; this allowed him to promote his old material how he liked and prevented Sony from getting a cut of the profit. Jackson expected this to occur this to occur early in the new millennium; however, due to various clauses in the contract, this revert date is still many years away. Jackson began an investigation, and it emerged that the attorney who represented the singer in the deal was also representing Sony, creating a conflict of interest. Jackson was also concerned about another conflict of interest. For a number of years, Sony had been pushing to buy all of Jackson's shares in their music catalog venture. If Jackson's career or financial situation were to deteriorate, he would have to sell his catalog. Thus, Sony had something to gain from Jackson's career failing. Jackson was able to use these conflicts as leverage to exit his contract early. Just before the release of Invincible, Jackson informed the head of Sony Music Entertainment, Tommy Mottola, that he was leaving Sony. As a result, all singles releases, video shootings and promotions concerning the Invincible album were canceled. Jackson made allegations in July 2002 that Mottola was a 'devil' and a 'racist' who did not support his African-American artists, using them merely for his own personal gain.... Sony disputed claims that they had failed to promote Invincible with sufficient energy, maintaining that Jackson refused to tour in the US."
Weird, isn't it?
UPDATE: The film is set to be released October 30. If the 3D Thriller is included, it will be truly fitting.