MTV Networks (a division of Viacom), has acquired the exclusive United States television rights to air one of the most anticipated films of the year -- Michael Jackson's This Is It.
The critically acclaimed and commercially successful film becomes available to MTV Networks in 2011, and continuing through the entire six-year network window. The deal includes all domestic channels under the MTV Networks umbrella, including MTV, VH1, VH1 Classic and Palladia and rounds out the music networks' commitment to celebrating the life and legacy of Michael Jackson. The arrangement also extends to Viacom's BET Networks, including its newest channel, Centric. Channels and premiere dates will be announced at a later time.
"The film is a true testament to Michael's musical genius, passion and commitment to his craft," said Van Toffler, President of the MTV Networks Music Group. "Michael Jackson has always been inextricably tied to our viewers as they witnessed his evolution from a talented performer to a global icon who redefined music. Now, with this film, we can help give his fans a chance to see his final performance."
Michael Jackson's This Is It, premiered nationwide on October 28, earning the #1 box office spot for the weekend and offering Jackson fans and music lovers everywhere a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the performer as he developed, created and rehearsed for his sold-out, historic comeback concerts that would have kicked off this past summer at London's O2 Arena. Chronicling from March through June, 2009, the film is produced with the full support of the Estate of Michael Jackson and drawn from more than one hundred hours of behind the scenes footage, featuring Jackson rehearsing numerous songs for the show. Audiences are given a privileged and private look at Jackson as he was never before seen. In raw and candid detail, Michael Jackson's This Is It is the last documentation of Michael Jackson at work, capturing the singer, dancer, filmmaker, architect, creative genius and great artist at work.
Kenny Ortega, who was both Michael Jackson's creative partner for the concert tour and the director of the stage show serves as the film's director, and Randy Phillips, Kenny Ortega and Paul Gongaware are producers. Executive producers are John Branca and John McClain. The film is being distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures Releasing. One of the best reviewed film of the year, Michael Jackson's This Is It has already reached $222.6 million in box office receipts worldwide.
The deal was brokered by Sony Pictures Television and Ben Zurier, Executive Vice President, Program Strategy, VH1, VH1 Classic & Palladia for MTV Networks. MTV Networks will also collaborate with Sony Pictures Entertainment in marketing the DVD release of the film in early 2010.