July 27, 2009
Posted: 11:57 PM ET
...Sony Pictures, which reportedly has shelled out close to $60 million for the rights to 80 or so hours of rehearsal footage from the singer’s “This Is It” tour concert. The footage is being edited into a concert film, also tentatively titled “This Is It,” which will hit theaters on Oct. 30. No one from Sony is talking, since the final details of the deal are still in negotiation. But insiders say the lion’s share of the profits from the film will go to Jackson’s estate.
Sony gets its cut from the studio’s distribution fee on the film, though the studio also has to foot the bill for the marketing costs of the release. On the other hand, Sony has worldwide rights for the film, which extend through the movie’s ancillary life, from its theatrical release into what are normally lucrative home video and pay and free TV windows. According to insiders, Sony’s distribution fee is slightly above 10%, with escalator clauses in the deal providing the studio with a bigger cut if the film performs better at the box office.
Is it a good deal for Sony? The simple answer is: Nobody knows. There’s really no precedent for the Jackson death mania, so its impossible to say whether it will spur millions of fans to pay $11 to see footage of his tour rehearsals a full four months after he’s died - especially considering that between now and then the media will once again be full of stories about his excesses after the coroner’s office releases a long-awaited toxicology report.
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