Directed by Kenny Ortega, “This Is It” documents the preparation and rehearsal that was invested in the King of Pop’s swan song. Michael Jackson was scheduled to perform 10 (which, due to overwhelming demand, was increased to 50) sold out shows in London as a farewell to performing before going into retirement. Some speculate that the concert was Michael Jackson’s means of putting a dent in his sizeable debts, though he announced that the purpose of the concert was to give his children an opportunity to see him perform since they were born after the height of his popularity. (Dailymail.co.uk). It was planned to begin on July 13, 2009, however the dream was tragically smashed by the untimely and tragic death of Michael Jackson less than a month before the debut.
The Way You Make Me Feel
The film incited controversy across the board between Jackson’s ample fan base and his relationships. From the front of his audience, the producers were pressured so much that they even released the documentary early to satisfy public demand. Conversely, the film was criticized as an attempt to turn a profit on Michael Jackson’s misfortune. His family pressured the filmmakers to cancel its production, albeit unsuccessfully. Sony paid $50,000,000 for the rights to produce the documentary. AEG President Tim Leiweke publically retorted:
“Some of the things that people have said about us, which are so untrue, this movie’s going to restore his legacy, and prove that we, in fact, gave Michael a second chance here. And an opportunity to make the kind of comeback he was dreaming of. And that we created an environment for him that was probably the best environment that the guy had the last 10 or 15 years of his life. And I’m very proud of the way we treated Michael, and very proud of the partnership that we had with him. And this movie is an opportunity to celebrate that, and we could get past all of the gossip and all of the innuendo.” (Theguardian.com)
President Tim Leiweke
In spite of the criticism, it proved to be an enormous commercial and critical success, breaking world records before the film was even released:
- The soundtrack entered the market at number one in the United States.
- 700,000 tickets were sold in the first four hours
- The movie set a Guiness World Record (later broken) for the largest promotional poster in the world (Worldrecordacademy.com)
- At $250,000,000, This Is It is the highest grossing concert film and documentary film of all time.
- It set a record for breaking $100 million in ticket sales worldwide in its firt five days.(Usatoday.com)
- After his death, Michael Jackson became to make 2 million posthumous sales in a week. (Nytimes.com)