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Judge approves Jackson film

Pic to be fashioned from rehearsal footage

Sony Pictures and Sony Music have officially landed the rights to produce a pic of Michael Jackson’s final concert tour.

As expected, the studio will distrib “This Is It” worldwide on Oct. 30, (Daily Variety, July 21). It will consist of rehearsal and behind-the-scenes footage shot while Jackson prepped to perform 50 concerts in London. “High School Musical”-helmer Kenny Ortega, who choreographed the show, will direct the film, the material for which was shot in HD in June at Staples Center and the Forum in Los Angeles.

The film will offer select sequences in 3-D.

Sony acquired the footage from AEG Live and the Michael Jackson estate for as much as $60 million. AEG had started the bidding at $50 million.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Beckloff approved the deal Monday.

“This historic recording of the last time (Jackson) sang and danced on stage shows the legendary artist in an incredibly powerful way, with crystal clear images and sound,” said Sony Pictures chairman-CEO Michael Lynton.

Sony Pictures and Sony Music will co-produce with AEG Live and the Michael Jackson estate, which back the pic. Randy Phillips and Paul Gongaware of AEG Live are producers.

Proceeds that the Michael Jackson estate earns from the film’s release will benefit the Michael Jackson Family Trust.

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