Michael Jackson Film Deal Finalized

Columbia Pictures movie will include footage from final rehearsals for MJ's planned comeback tour.

Columbia Pictures has solidified its plans to bring a Michael Jackson film — complete with footage of his final rehearsals in preparation for a comeback tour — to theaters in the fall, according to The Associated Press.

After weeks of negotiations, Columbia, which is owned by Sony, agreed to pay $60 million for rights to the project. The agreement was reached Friday between Columbia, concert promoter AEG Live, Jackson’s representatives and others.

All that remains is for a Los Angeles judge to approve the deal at a Monday hearing, when Jackson’s mother, Katherine, will have an opportunity to raise any objections.

The deal includes the rights to more than 100 hours of rehearsal footage, clips that were intended to be used during Jackson’s comeback concerts at London’s O2 arena, as well as merchandising, special DVD editions and product tie-ins. Among the prohibited tie-ins are products related to alcohol, tobacco, gambling and pharmaceuticals, along with personal-hygiene products and firearms. Jackson’s company would receive 90 percent of the movie’s profits, and AEG would receive the rest.

Under terms of the deal, the film must be rated PG, cannot run any longer than 150 minutes and cannot contain any footage that might cast Jackson in a negative light. Columbia is required to screen the film for Jackson’s reps by October 2 and is said to want the film in theaters by Halloween .

The deal also leaves open the possibility that Jackson’s representatives can produce several tribute concerts, as long as the broadcast of those events does not interfere with the rollout of the theatrical film. AEG has been said to be negotiating for a television deal, but networks reportedly balked over the high price tag and lack of exclusive Jackson footage.