Michael Jackson has remained just as big a star in death as he was in life — if not bigger. Like Elvis, Bob Marley, Frank Sinatra and Tupac Shakur before him, interest in all things Jackson spiked following the singer’s death and continues to be strong two years after his shocking passing on June 25, 2009.
Jackson’s name has been in the news on a daily basis over the past month thanks to the involuntary manslaughter trial of his former physician, Dr. Conrad Murray , who was found guilty , the jury announced Monday. It’s not the kind of publicity the Jackson estate is looking for, but with the trial now over, the focus will likely turn to the next projects from the singer’s vaults.
To date, the estate has been busy lining up one project after another, beginning with 2009’s This Is It, the documentary on Jackson’s planned comeback tour that grossed close to $200 million worldwide on its way to becoming the #2 music documentary of all time.
That was followed by the release of Michael , a posthumous album with unreleased Jackson tracks that sold more than 500,000 copies, alongside more than 1 million units of the This Is It soundtrack . There were also 3 million units shifted of the Ubisoft video game “Michael Jackson: The Experience,” which helped rack up the more than $1 billion the estate has brought in since Jackson’s death through a combination of music sales, film/TV revenue, music publishing, licensing and a $31 million recording contract with Sony.
Cirque du Soleil’s traveling MJ extravaganza, “Immortal,” made its American debut this month, boasting a soundtrack that features a number of mash-ups and reimaginings of the singer’s music, plus some previously unheard bits. The show’s soundtrack is slated to hit stores November 21.
When the show hits Las Vegas in December, it will coincide with the annual Michael Jackson Fan Fest (December 3-14), the ritual gathering of the flock that this year will include a raft of never-before-seen memorabilia from the King of Pop. Among the items at the first-ever estate-authorized fest at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino are the actual gates of Neverland Ranch, Jackson’s personal book collection, the 1999 Rolls Royce Seraph limousine with 24-karat gold embellishments designed by the singer, the 10-foot-tall HIStory statue, the spaceship set from the “Scream” video, the throne from the Egyptian-themed “Remember the Time” clip and the tank from the “Earth Song” live performance.
Also reportedly due soon is a repackaging of Jackson’s 1987 Bad album, which, like previous reissues, is expected to feature previously unearthed bonus material. The original album featured landmark songs such as the title track, “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Man in the Mirror,” “Smooth Criminal” and “Dirty Diana.”
Given the amount of unreleased material that was reportedly left in the vaults at Jackson’s death, there is a strong possibility that another album of unheard tunes could be in the offing soon as well.
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