Michael Jackson movie in the works

Dead stars can rake in big bucks, but Jackson's upcoming flick may break some records.

Jackson's flick sure to be "bad?"

Bring out your dead: a Michael Jackson movie is in the works.

I'm just amazed it took this long to surface. Details are sketchy, but there are murmurs of a $60 million deal with Columbia Pictures to make the movie using video of Jackson rehearsing for his "This Is It" concerts in London.

The film, possibly in 3D, will be assembled from hundreds of hours of rehearsal and behind-the-scenes footage. So sure, expect lots of "extras" on Blu-ray. I'm sure the film will make oodles of cash, but that's par for the course for dead stars.

The dead rock star thing started on February 3, 1959, when a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, killed three first-generation rock musicians: Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson. It was "The Day the Music Died," but the dead-star business really kicked into high gear when Elvis Presley died of an overdose in 1977. The King was dead, but his career was in great shape.

He's been one of the top earners on dead celebrities lists for decades. In 2007, 40 years after his death, Presley-related products pulled in $49 million. Kurt Cobain and John Lennon are also strong "performers." But Jackson looks likely to top this year's list.

Dying is a great way to kick a lagging career into pure profit mode. And it's so easy, just dredge up "lost" tapes and live performances that were deemed sub par while the artist was alive, and devout fans devour them.

Two legends at their peak.

For me, the best dead artists are Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding. Check out both of their transcendent performances on the "Jimi Plays Monterey & Shake! Otis At Monterey-Criterion Collection." Blu-ray and Hendrix on the recently remastered "Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music Director's Cut (40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition)" on Blu-ray.

About the author

Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Home Theater, Inner Fidelity, Tone Audio, and Stereophile.

 

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