Value: $392 million
Sony Pictures bought Jackson's rehearsal footage from AEG for $60 million. In retrospect, the price was something of a bargain. "Michael Jackson: This Is It" was released Oct. 28, 2009, and earned $72 million at the U.S. box office, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com, making it the highest-grossing concert film in history.
Overseas, the film earned $188 million at the box office; of that, $56 million was tallied in Japan alone. After AEG recouped the company's investment of more than $35 million in the canceled shows at London's O2 and the film, the bulk of the theatrical take-court documents indicate it could be as high as 90%-went to Jackson's estate.
On the home video front, the "This Is It" DVD has earned $43 million in U.S. sales, with 2.7 million units sold since its Jan. 26 release, according to The-Numbers.com, a division of Nash Information Services. Nash estimates the film made another $25 million in rental revenue.
In Japan-where the film was also sold as part of a special "This Is It" bundle for the PlayStation 3-DVD sales topped $18 million on its first day of release; 351,000 Blu-ray copies have been sold, according to rankings service Oricon, adding about $7 million to the total.
In terms of TV, the industry standard is that exclusive rights for ad-supported TV costs 12% of the domestic box office for a four-year window; this rule of thumb is in flux, however, as the length of exclusive windows extend and the number of outlets involved in the deals increase. In November 2009, Viacom purchased the exclusive U.S. TV rights to air "This Is It" on its MTV and BET family of networks-including VH1 and Palladia, as well as MTV and BET-for six years. Given the additional years in the contract and the film's box-office tally, the deal could be worth upwards of $15 million. (By contrast, FX is reported to have paid between $25 million and $30 million for just the U.S. commercial TV rights to "Avatar.")
With its family-friendly PG rating, "This Is It" can be shown in all distribution mediums outside of traditional theaters, including airplanes, cruise ships and hotel chains. Licensing fees for nontheatrical performances vary based on the movie and its potential reach and how long it will air after it debuts in theaters, but it's generally forecast to be about 7% of total revenue for a film. For "This Is It," that puts the number at $24 million.