Sony Pictures have become the front runners in the bidding war for hundreds of hours of Staples rehearsal footage of Michael’s ‘This Is It’ concerts.
AEG Live offered the rights to 1,200 hours of rehearsal footage to all the major movie studios last week and Sony, Fox, Paramount and Universal all submitted bids.
Although Fox and Universal still have bids under consideration, Sony’s $50 million offer, coupled with the fact they control Michael’s output as an adult solo performer and retain the right to block a competing studio from using his songs, put the studio in the strongest position.
AEG is also selling the broadcast rights for a television special based around the staging and choreography that Michael personally created for his ‘This Is It’ shows. This prompted competition among television networks over the weekend.
The special would be broadcast in September and it would be directed by Kenny Ortega, who was the director of the shows. It is described as featuring an ensemble of superstars that might include; Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake and Will.I.Am performing Michael’s hits using the costuming, choreography, aerial ballet and special effects – driven illusions that had been engineered for the actual concerts.
It has also been reported that NBC is the front-runner in bidding for the TV special. The network has declined comment and denied rumors of a deal. However, sources close to NBC say it is in negotiations to air the special.
It is thought that Michael’s estate would get the lion’s share of the profits from the sales.
An announcement about both specials is expected next Monday.
AEG is reputedly also selling television and video rights to the August 29th tribute concert which is scheduled in London on Michael’s birthday. Reports say Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson and others will perform the song list that Michael planned to sing at the concerts, accompanied by the band that rehearsed with him.