Sony spent $60 million dollars acquiring the rights to the last footage of Michael Jackson and now it has a plan to get its money worth.
Thursday afternoon Sony Pictures Entertainment and Music Entertainment announced that it's going for a limited engagement, putting the movie in theaters for two weeks only. Building up excitement for a short released worked brilliantly with Disney's first 3-D Miley Cyrus film, and this seems like a similar tactic. Build up excitement and pack in fans for a short release that feels more like a live concert that's about to leave town than a movie that will sit in theaters for months. Sony's putting tickets on sale a month early, looking to generate a sense of scarcity and excitement.
Jackson's televised memorial on July 7 drew 31.1 million US TV viewers, according to Nielsen. If the movie can get a good chunk of those viewers to make the trip to the theater then Sony made a *very* good investment. Kenny Ortega, who directed Disney's "High School Musical" movies, was Jackson's creative partner on the concert and will direct the movie. Sony was smart to push the film's start date forward two days, so it'll open on Wednesday October 28. Halloween weekend is always tough for movies, but the studio is trying to make it enough of an event that fans of all ages will squeeze in a screening amongst Halloween parties.
In other Jackson family news, A&E is reportedly moving forward with a one-hour reality show about the Jackson brothers that could be used as a pilot to launch a series. The brothers filmed a pilot before Michael died, and his death certainly raising interest in the family. We'll see if A&E rushes to get it on-air in the run-up to the Jackson theatrical release.