'This Is It' passes $100 mil mark
Grosses more than $144 mil worldwideMichael Jackson's posthumous popularity continues to be a major selling point.
As Sony's theatrical release of "This Is It" crossed the $100 million mark in overseas grosses Thursday, several sellers at the American Film Market were feeling bullish on Jackson-related content, no matter how fringe.
LongTale International is peddling some rare concert and travel footage of the Jackson 5 in Africa in 1974. The Senegalese performance footage, picked up by Televentures in New York City, includes 13 songs and loads of classic Jackson brothers synchronized dancing as part of a back-to-their-roots movement in the mid-'70s.
The filmmakers plan to add two extra songs, converted to 3D, from a separate concert of the same era. Titled "The Jackson 5 in Africa," the documentary has already drawn interest from buyers in Japan, the U.K. and the States.
The international bet is a good one, considering that "This Is It's" appea lhas been greatest in Japan ($18.2 million), the U.K. ($11.1 million),Germany ($8.9 million) and France ($8.7 million). The Kenny Ortega-directed concert documentary has also drawn $43.8 million in the U.S. in nine days of release.
Also in the mix at AFM is Alexander Nohe of Walking Shadows, who has seven hours of footage of Jackson's Neverland estate that he's trying to offload.
And writer-director Bryan Michael Stoller, who made a film that he shopped at AFM in 2004 called "Miss Castaway and the Island Girls," has noticed newfound cachet in the project.
The reason? There's the small part of Agent M.J. played by Michael Jackson.
"I don't want to be exploitive, but there has been a lot of renewed interest," says Stoller, who hopes to parlay the attention into a domestic theatrical release.