Sony Pictures is finalizing a deal to acquire rehearsal footage from [artist id=”1102″]Michael Jackson[/artist]’s This Is It concert run, with hopes of releasing it in theaters just in time for Halloween, according to Variety.
Sony is reportedly paying close to $60 million for the 80 hours of rehearsal footage shot at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The footage is currently owned by AEG Entertainment, who were promoting Jackson’s run of 50 shows at London’s O2 Arena.
“High School Musical” director Kenny Ortega, who shot the rehearsal footage, will reportedly also sort through it to assemble the film, which Sony plans on having in theaters on October 30. Variety claims the film will feature “at least three” videos, including an alternative version of “Thriller,” which was intended to be an interstitial video during Jackson’s O2 shows.
That video was meant to play in 3-D, but it is not known if it will be presented that way in the feature film.
Reportedly, Fox, Universal, Paramount and Relativity were also interested in obtaining the rehearsal footage, but Sony made more sense since its Music Entertainment division owns the publishing rights to Jackson’s songs.
Terms of the deal were still being hammered out, but according to Variety, the Jackson family estate is expected to collect 90 percent of what’s left after AEG recoups its production costs for the tour. Originally it was reported that AEG was planning on using the footage for a live CD/DVD set in an attempt to recoup the money they lost after Jackson’s death, including a staggering $85 million in ticket refunds .