Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox have come out as the front-runners in a Hollywood auction of film and home video distribution rights to Michael Jackson's rehearsal footage.
A recent update for the planned feature film for Michael Jackson's rehearsal footage has been brought forward by The New York Times. According to the publication, the proposed film project is rapidly moving forward into becoming a reality since Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox, as of Saturday, July 18, have emerged as the leading contenders in the bidding war for the filming rights.
The rights to the project have been battled over by major studios like Viacom's Paramount/MTV, NBC Universal, Sony Music and Sony Pictures, and News Corp's 20th Century Fox/Fox Broadcasting Co. ever since AEG Live, the concert promoter behind Michael's canceled O2 concert, offered the late King of Pop's rehearsal material. Other sources indicated that Sony would likely win the bidding, partly because Sony Music has rights to Michael's music.
Nikki Finke of Deadline Hollywood Daily reported that the bidding for the movies rights was begun at a staggering $50 million, while the TV special rights at $10 million. Inside sources, in addition, claimed that the deals under discussion include revenue-sharing agreements and distribution fees for the movie studios. Still, outcome of the auction is expected to come out as soon as this week.
None of the reported Hollywood studios gave comments on this report. Michael Roth, a spokesman for AEG, also remained coy when asked about the matter. "We have not made any decisions on what we are going to do with the video," he stated.
Weeks following Michael Jackson's sudden death, AEG Live has considered to turn the legendary singer's rehearsal footage for his "This is It" concert into a feature film. The material, owned by the concert promoter, was said to contain over 100 hours of Michael rehearsing his back catalog for the tour scheduled to play at the O2 Arena, London, later in the year.
It also included the King of Pop performing his hits "Thriller" and "Beat It" in addition to production meetings and auditions. Some of the rehearsal footage were shot in high definition. At the time, AEG's president and CEO Randy Phillips revealed that they are waiting for Jackson's estate to be settled before proceeding with their plan.