First stills from Michael Jackson concert film released | Ben Child

Photographs from This Is It, the documentary about Michael Jackson's planned London tour, have appeared online

The first pictures from the forthcoming Kenny Ortega-directed documentary about Michael Jackson's ill-fated rehearsals for his final tour have hit the web. They show Jackson on stage at the Staples Centre, in Los Angeles, where he was preparing for his sell-out concerts at the O2 Arena in London this summer.

Ortega, director of the High School Musical series
, was in charge of the concerts and will also oversee the new film, dubbed This Is It, under the same moniker as the planned tour. The documentary is being released on Wednesday, 28 October for a limited two-week run in cinemas worldwide.

Ortega said: "This film shows a consummate performer working with and guiding singers, dancers, band members, choreographers, special effects creators and countless other creative members of the team as we all assemble this historic concert.

"This Is It may go down as the greatest concert that no one got a chance to see, but with this film, we get a rare portrait of Michael as he prepares for his final curtain-call and what I believe was going to be his master work."

Several studios expressed interest in turning footage from the rehearsals into a movie following Jackson's death on 25 June, 2009 with Sony emerging the winner after agreeing to pay Jackson's estate and AEG Live, the promoter of the London concerts, at least $60m (£37m) for the rights.

The 50 shows were to have been Jackson's first major series of concerts since the HIStory world tour in 1997, with the first 10 dates alone set to earn him more than £50m. More than one million people were expected to attend.


Ben Child

The GuardianTramp

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