Marc Schaffel’s footage of Michael, which he made into a documentary, was set to open in two hundred cinemas in Japan on June 25th.
Schaffel and Michael had a major “falling out” four years ago and they sued each other in a messy trial. In a statement sent to The Associated Press on Thursday, the estate says the film’s promoters “misled Michael Jackson’s fans” by making it appear as if it were authorised.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” the estate said. “His estate was not consulted on this film, and will not endorse it.”
The estate said none of the proceeds will flow to the estate, which benefits his children, mother and charities. It also said the movie cannot legally use any of Michael’s music. Schaffel’s lawyer, Howard King, said on Thursday that his client had licensed footage that Schaffel either shot himself or hired a crew to take for the film’s producer, Flamingo Features. He added that Schaffel did not represent any endorsement from the estate.
“Marc Schaffel could not have been more clear about the lack of involvement of the estate,” King said.
King said the Japanese distributor, a company called Star Sands, may have mistakenly been promoting the film as authorised, but he said advertisements were being changed early Friday.
“What I believe is that Star Sands advertised the movie as being endorsed by the estate without knowing the truth,” he said. “I believe they are currently changing their advertising, now that they have become aware of the estate’s claim.”
Shaye Sullwold, one of the producers on the documentary, denied misleading Star Sands about the estate’s involvement. “We’ve never said anything about the estate endorsing anything,” Sullwold said.