Michael Jackson film on the way, based on concert rehearsal footage

Sony Pictures is closing in on a deal to release a feature film on Michael Jackson, working primarily from the 80 hours of rehearsal footage shot for the concerts Jackson was preparing to perform in London, according to Variety.

The film will feature at least three videos, including an alternative version of Jackson’s Thriller, which were to be used as interstitial video programming during the London concerts. The footage was meant to be shown in 3D, but there was no word on whether the feature will present it that way.

Kenny Ortega (High School Musical), who shot the rehearsal footage, is expected to direct the feature, and has begun to put together clips, so Sony can release the film before year’s end.

Several studios were interested in a deal, including Fox, Universal, Paramount and Relativity, however Sony Pictures had first option because its Sony Music Entertainment division owns music publishing rights to Jackson’s library.

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