Feature length Michael Jackson film mooted as means to help clear debts

Concert promoter behind Michael Jackson's planned tour hopeful about possibility of constructing a documentary from rehearsal footage

A new Michael Jackson film could be assembled from archive footage of the late singer in an effort to clear the estimated $400m debt accumulated by his estate, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The possibility of a big screen outing emerged as new video was released of Jackson rehearsing two days before his death. It could form part of the new film, along with more than 100 hours of footage which exists of the singer, the promoter of his cancelled London comeback concerts said.

"He was our partner in life and now he's our partner in death," Randy Phillips, president and CEO of concert promoter AEG Live, told the Reporter. "If we all do our jobs right, we could probably raise hundreds of millions of dollars just on the stuff we have worldwide and then the estate could eradicate its debt."

The film, which early reports suggested might be a DVD only release, could provide AEG with valuable revenue to offset its losses from the abandoned gigs at the O2, although Phillips said "the lion's share" would go to Jackson's estate. He also revealed that 40 to 50% of the 750,000 ticket holders had so far opted to hold onto them as mementos rather than receive a refund.

AEG was insured against Jackson's death, but there will only be a payout if the autopsy finds that the singer died accidentally, not if it is found he died from natural causes.

Philips said the company was also considering a tribute show at the O2 which would be broadcast worldwide and then sold as a DVD. The production budget for the 50 London shows, which were set to begin on July 13, was more than $25m, he added.


Ben Child

The GuardianTramp

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