Source: Studio forces cancellation of tribute shows; film set for Oct. release
By Courtney Hazlett
updated 7:45 a.m. ET July 24, 2009
Sony has paid $60 million for footage of Michael Jackson's final rehearsals, according to sources with knowledge of the deal.
The studio plans to release a film version of the recordings in October.
But as part of the deal with AEG, Sony stipulated that tribute concerts planned for London in August must be canceled.
The move has left some of the organizers of the tribute, who also held key roles in the original 50-date tour, irate.
“The show directors, choreographers, dancers, cast, crew all extended their stays in Los Angeles after Michael’s death, worked on his memorial, began planning the tribute shows because we were told time and again that it would happen,” one highly-placed member of the “This is It” tour said.
“Then we get a phone call late (Thursday) saying it was all off, and all work after June 26 — the day after Michael died — is considered volunteer work.”
Not only are people not being paid for their time, according to sources, but there are outstanding costs associated with the tour that haven’t yet been covered.
“AEG had a budget for the tour, and Michael had a vision. To cover the difference, many of us paid out of our own pockets,” the source said. “We did this with the assurance from Michael that we’d be paid, and collectively we’re out millions, and don’t even know where to turn to get the money back. His estate? Sony? It’s a nightmare.”