The estate and AEG began the bidding process by asking studios for $50 million, which would include DVD distribution rights. The Wall Street Journal reports that the documentary would draw from more than 100 hours of rehearsal footage for Jackson's planned 50-show This Is It run at the O2 arena in London. But the Los Angeles Times reports that the rights to about 1,200 hours of rehearsal footage were offered to the studios.
Sony, Fox, Paramount and Universal have all submitted bids for the footage, reports indicate. But Sony's $50 million offer — in addition to its control over the distribution rights to Jackson's adult solo music and its right to block another studio from using the songs — indicates the studio is in the strongest position to capture rights to the documentary.
A deal for the film, which could be released as early as October, could be reached as soon as this week. The footage includes some captured on the night of Jackson's final dress rehearsal. The concerts were to have begun on July 13.
The theatrical and DVD release are part of AEG's effort to recoup some of the $30 million it spent to launch Jackson's 50-show stand and millions more in lost revenue from ticket, merchandise and food sales. Earlier this month, AEG began selling memorabilia it commissioned for the concerts.
AEG is also said to be negotiating for the broadcast rights for a TV special covering the staging and choreography for the concerts. The prime-time show would reportedly feature Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake and Will.I.Am performing some of MJ's songs using the wardrobe, choreography and special effects originally intended for Jackson's concerts. NBC is the front-runner to secure the rights to the special, according to the Times.
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