A film culled from rehearsals for
The film is is being produced with the full support of the singer's estate and will be drawn from hundreds of hours of rehearsal and behind-the-scenes footage, captured in high definition with state-of-the-art digital sound as the late singer was preparing for his string of 50 concerts at London's O2 Arena, according to the press release. The film, which will also offer select sequences in 3-D, will provide a career retrospective and feature interviews with some of Jackson's closest friends and collaborators.
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, and formalized on Monday.
The concerts were scheduled to begin just weeks after the singer's death on June 25.
A brief clip of the rehearsal footage was released last month.
The rights to the exclusive footage were acquired from AEG Live and the singer's estate. Sony Pictures and Sony Music will co-produce with AEG Live and the estate, and Sony Pictures will distribute the film worldwide.
The majority of the film's footage was shot in June 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, and the Forum in Inglewood, California, as Jackson prepared for the This Is It concerts.
Kenny Ortega, director of and Jackson's creative partner on the concerts, said in a statement: "The world will see what our team was so fortunate to experience, which was the full commitment, passion and creativity that Michael put into this project. He was the architect of This Is It, and we were his builders. The footage that was captured from the early stages of the production to our technical rehearsals at the Staples Center in L.A. will show Michael as he truly was, creatively involved with every aspect of the production, from the staging and choreography, to the music, lighting, production design and conception of the original short films and video backdrops.
"It will also show Michael as one of the greatest entertainers in the world and one of the industry's most creative minds," the statement continues. "This Is It was Michael's last theatrical work and although it was still a work in progress, I think the footage will show that the process was something that Michael deeply enjoyed and that it was clear that he was on his way to another theatrical triumph."