08/12/2009 06:00 PM | AP
A judge greenlit a major Michael Jackson movie deal on Monday, and the film is scheduled to be in theatres later this year.
The film, crafted from hundreds of hours of behind-the-scenes and rehearsal footage shot in Los Angeles weeks before Jackson was to kick off his 50 This is It concerts in London, will also feature interviews with Jackson's friends and collaborators.
"People who have seen this footage are astounded by the amazing quality of Michael Jackson's performance," said Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment. "This historic recording of the last time he sang and danced on stage shows the legendary artist in an incredibly powerful way, with crystal clear images and sound."
Judge Mitchell Beckloff delayed approving a pair of lucrative memorabilia contracts after attorneys for Jackson's mother, Katherine, raised a series of objections.
It is unclear how much the deals are worth, but attorneys for the companies said the delay could cost Jackson's heirs a large amount of money. Columbia Pictures paid $60 million (Dh220.3 million) for rights to the film, and the contract states Jackson's estate is slated to receive 90 per cent of its profits.
The King gets his castle
It's a concert venue fit for a king - even the King of Pop.
Vienna's majestic Schoenbrunn Palace, will serve as the backdrop for what organisers billed on Monday as a "global" farewell tribute to Michael Jackson next month.
World Awards Media GmbH, the promoter, said members of Jackson's family and a "high-profile line-up of international stars" will perform on a multimedia stage built in the shape of a giant crown on the palace's sculpted grounds.
"For one incredible night Michael Jackson's unforgettable music will be brought to life again," World Awards Media said on its website. "Some of the world's leading artists will perform Michael's greatest hits live in Vienna in front of one of the most fascinating historical sites in Europe and celebrate the life of the 'King of Pop'."
Tickets are due to go on sale on August 20.
Organisers said Jermaine Jackson and other family members would perform some of Jackson's hits. They would not confirm reports that the tribute may include U2, Madonna, Lionel Richie and Whitney Houston.
Kindel said he hoped to secure official permission within the next eight days to hold the concert at Schoenbrunn.
The venue has enough standing room to accommodate 85,000 people. The daily Oesterreich said giant screens would be set up in parks around Vienna to handle the huge overflow crowds expected.