Michael Jackson gestures as he announces plans for Summer residency at the O2 Arena at a press conference held at the O2 Arena on March 5, 2009 in London, England.
Next up could be a Jackson tribute concert at the O2 utilizing the massive production put together for This Is It. "We're just starting to get into that now, to figure out how to unveil all the stuff we have to the world," says Phillips. "I think at some point we'll show Michael's last masterpiece, This Is It, to the world."
Regarding refunds, Phillips says AEG is currently seeing a retention rate of about 25% in an offer that runs through Aug. 14. He says 40% retention would allow AEG to recoup its expenses. What ticket retention doesn't make up, intellectual property should cover costs that AEG has put at about $25 million and others have tagged as high as double that. "I can only tell you how much we spent," says Phillips. "I don't know what we lost yet, it's too early."
This Is It intellectual property, including Jackson's "mini-movies" produced for the shows, is "all locked up at the Staples Center in the vault," Phillips says. "The production, staging and all that is in warehouses under lock and key. And the dancers and everyone else want to do the show for the world one time, so we kind of have them on hold, but we don't have anything confirmed yet."
Speculation has been that the tribute show might be staged on what would have been Jackson's 51st birthday Aug. 29. "That would be the ideal time, but we're not sure we can get it together in time," Phillips says.
Regarding the MJ This Is It merchandise, Phillips says it is selling "big time" on the Web site and will be offered at retail at some point. "I have a book of 300-plus of the most amazing items Michael designed with Bravado that are just spectacular, the best merch I've ever seen in my life," he says.