Jackson’s business has seen a boom lately, including the recently launched Broadway musical “MJ: The Musical,” after a series of court victories.
A Michael Jackson biopic is in the works by Oscar-winning “Bohemian Rhapsody” producer Graham King and “Gladiator” screenwriter John Logan. Lionsgate will handle the worldwide distribution of the film, studio president Joe Drake said Monday.
The studio said the film will give “an in-depth portrait of the complicated man who became the King of Pop” and bring his “most iconic performances to life as it provides insightful insight into the artistic process of ‘artist and private life. John Branca and John McClain, who are co-executors of Michael Jackson’s estate, are also producers.
Jackson’s business has seen a boom lately, including the recently launched Broadway musical “MJ: The Musical,” following a series of court victories that ended serious legal crises.
The 2019 HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland” again raised allegations of pedophilia. Lawsuits once brought by the two men featured there had been revived by changes in the law. And a decision in the estate’s appeal of a $700 million tax bill was taking years to arrive. The lawsuits of the two accusers were dismissed and a decision in the tax case significantly reduced the bill.
The two men featured in the documentary are appealing the dismissal of their lawsuits. HBO championed “Leaving Neverland” as a valid and important piece of documentary journalism.
The victory awarded to the estate in its tax case came in part because the judge ruled that the value of Jackson’s image and likeness had been severely diminished by such allegations at the time of his death, despite his acquittal. during his trial for pedophilia in 2005.
Under Branca and McClain’s leadership, the estate has brought in $2.5 billion in revenue over the past 11 years, and Jackson has remained the highest-earning deceased celebrity each year since his death at age 50 from a lethal dose of the anesthetic propofol.
Not much has been revealed about the film, and no director or casting has been announced, but the underlying names suggest eyes are on the awards potential. Logan and Graham previously collaborated on “The Aviator,” which earned them both Oscar nominations.
“I first met the Jackson family in 1981 and am honored to bring their legacy to the big screen,” King said in a statement. “Sitting in Dodger Stadium watching the Victory Tour, I never could have imagined that almost 38 years later I would have the privilege of being a part of this movie.”
Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, also said in a statement that “Ever since Michael was little, as a member of The Jackson 5, he loved the magic of movies…As a family, we are honored that the our life story comes alive on the big screen.