Friday, July 24, 2009

Michael Jackson: A Halloween Treat?

Michael Jackson may be thrilling audiences in theaters around Halloween.

Sony Pictures, which is finalizing a deal to acquire concert rehearsal footage from the singer's "This Is It" tour from AEG Entertainment, is eyeing an Oct. 30 release date for the film.

The opening bid for the performance footage started at $50 million, and Sony is said to be ponying up close to $60 million for the 80 hours filmed.

Fox, Universal, Paramount and Relativity were also interested in putting in bids.

Sony made more sense, however, considering Sony Music Entertainment owns music publishing rights to Jackson's songs.

Terms of the deal are still being worked out, but the Jackson family estate is expected to collect 90% of what's left after AEG recoups its production costs for the tour.

AEG owns the footage, filmed by "High School Musical" helmer Kenny Ortega. He'll assemble the pic, which will feature at least three videos, including an alternative version of Jackson's "Thriller," shot to be interstitial programming during Jackson's 50-night concert stand in London that was to have started this month.

The footage was meant to play in 3-D, but it's unclear as yet whether the feature film will present it that way.

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