Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sony Music Entertainment announced today that Michael Jackson: This Is It will be released exclusively for a special, limited, two-week engagement worldwide, with the studio pushing up the debut of the film by two days, to Wednesday, October 28th. Due to the anticipated demand for this film, tickets for the two-week presentation will go on sale in most cities beginning on Sunday, September 27th.
Separately, the producers of Michael Jackson: This Is It announced that Kenny Ortega has been set to direct the motion picture. The film is being produced with the full support of The Estate of Michael Jackson.
Commenting on the announcement, Ortega, director of and Jackson's creative partner on the Michael Jackson: This Is It concert, said, "This film is Michael's gift to his fans. As we began assembling the footage for the motion picture we realized we captured something extraordinary, unique and very special. It's a very private, exclusive look into a creative genius's world. For the first time ever, fans will see Michael as they have never seen him before - this great artist at work. It is raw, emotional, moving and powerful footage that captures his interactions with the This Is It collaborators that he had personally assembled for this once in a lifetime project. This film shows a consummate performer working with and guiding singers, dancers, band members, choreographers, special effects creators and countless other creative members of the team as we all assemble this historic concert. I can think of many words to describe Michael as he rehearses for and creates This Is It - inspirational, dynamic, generous, dedicated, loving and the guiding force--you see him as the true architect and driving force of this project - a true master of his craft, the Entertainer of Entertainers. I'm proud of the many years of friendship and creative association I shared with Michael and I'm happy that people will get a chance to see his spirit and drive in action. This Is It may go down as the greatest concert that no one got a chance to see, but with this film, we get a rare portrait of Michael as he prepares for his final curtain call and what I believe was going to be his master work."
Michael Jackson: This Is It will offer Jackson fans and music lovers worldwide a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the performer as he developed, created and rehearsed for his sold-out concerts that would have taken place beginning this summer in London's O2 Arena. Chronicling the months from April through June, 2009, the film is drawn from more than one hundred hours of behind-the-scenes footage, featuring Jackson rehearsing a number of his songs for the show. Audiences will be given a privileged and private look at the singer, dancer, filmmaker, architect, and genius as he creates and perfects his final show.
"I have never been partners with a more creative, innovative or groundbreaking entertainer than Michael Jackson," said Randy Phillips, President & CEO, AEG LIVE and producer of Michael Jackson: This Is It. "While the concerts would have been the greatest shows in the history of music, our film will provide a historic event for Michael's fans to see for themselves the genius that he was and the creativity, talent and imagination that the entire cast devoted to create the 'greatest concert that never happened'."
In the coming weeks, additional information about the film will be available at MichaelJackson.com.
Dubbed the Billion Dollar Maestro by Daily Variety, Kenny Ortega has conquered Feature Films, Television, Stage, Concerts and massive Live Events such as The Olympics with equal excellence. As Michael Jackson's director and creative partner on Michael Jackson: This Is It as well as the previous Jackson concert tours DANGEROUS and HISTORY, Mr. Ortega has been a friend, trusted colleague and collaborator of Michael Jackson's for over 20 years.
Kenny will segue from directing the film version of Michael Jackson: This Is It to directing the Paramount feature film Footloose this fall. The multiple Emmy Award winner famously directed and visualized Disney's billion-dollar High School Musical franchise of films both for Television and as a Feature Film. Kenny directed the fastest selling concert tour in history, the Hannah Montana / Miley Cyrus "Best of Both Worlds Tour" featuring The Jonas Bros. This tour broke numerous records and extended its sell out tour by more than 20 shows. He also directed to tremendous praise the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.