John Landis was asked on The Early Show, if he or Michael had any idea how big ‘Thriller’ would become. Landis said in response;
“Well, I certainly didn’t! I don’t know about Mike, but I had no idea it would become such a gigantic thing.
It was what was called a ‘vanity video’ because they had already done ‘Billie Jean’ and ‘Beat It’ as videos and those were very successful and MTV was just starting. But the album, I have to stress, the album was already the No.1 selling album of all-time. It had been No.1 for over a year by the time Michael called me and asked to turn him into a monster.”
Landis added that the concept of ‘Thriller’ was entirely Michael’s idea. “The record company had no interest in making another video, this was nobody’s brilliant marketing plan…it was just Mike wanting to turn into a monster.”