Considering the reported $400 million in debt he carried at the time of his death, it's no wonder the administrators of [artist id="1102"]Michael Jackson's[/artist] estate are planning to roll out tons of merchandise to cash in on the current interest in the late pop star.
According to a Los Angeles Times report, estate administrators have sketched out plans for everything from a major motion picture to a TV special, tribute concert and reams of MJ tie-ins ranging from Second Life-ready tattoos to high-end clothing and USB drives.
A court filing from last week by Jeryll S. Cohen, a lawyer for estate administrators John Branca and John McClain, said they anticipate the various products could generate tens of millions of dollars for the singer's estate. The papers were dated July 6, 12 days after the singer's death at the age of 50. The details of the multiple deals were redacted in the 500-plus-page court filing that was made public on Tuesday at a hearing in which Jackson's mother withdrew her bid to become one of the administrators of his estate.
Among the known deals is the $60 million pact with Columbia Pictures to make a feature-length movie out of the more than 100 hours of high-definition footage of rehearsals for Jackson's planned This Is It 50-date residency at the O2 arena in London. Jackson's estate would receive 90 percent of the profit from the film, with the remainder going to concert promoter AEG Live. There are also plans for a soundtrack, a director's-cut DVD, two special editions of the film after its theatrical run and a stipulation that Branca and McClain can produce at least one tribute concert as long as the broadcast doesn't interfere with the film rollout.
A wide-ranging deal with merchandising powerhouse Bravado highlights plans to produce a wide variety of Jackson-related memorabilia, from photo books and trading cards to lithographs, buttons, live recordings on USB drives, online games and denim and high-end clothing. There are also proposals for digital clothing, tattoos and accessories for VR worlds like Second Life and Stardoll, embossed wine decanters, theme packs for the Xbox and wallpaper and screensavers for cell phones.
Among the other plans is a proposal for a traveling "MJ Exhibition" of memorabilia from the late singer to be shown at museums, which will also be accompanied by exhibition-related merchandise. A petition filed by Cohen on Monday also mentions a deal "very favorable for the estate," with iTunes parent company Apple Inc. for the promotion and distribution of Jermaine Jackson's rendition of "Smile," which Michael's brother performed at his memorial service.
All the plans are subject to the approval of a Los Angeles probate judge who, according to the Times, will review the documents at a hearing Monday.