There is so much speculation about Michael Jackson’s tribute concerts that every day there seems to be another story paraded around the globe. Perhaps AEG Live‘s President and CEO Randy Phillips is the only person to really know what lies ahead since AEG retains many of the rights to the original production.
While the tribute at the O2 Arena in London, ENG, in August never materialized, Phillips has plans for 2010, which will occur after the documentary film “This Is It” is released on October 28 via Sony’s Columbia Pictures.
“We decided between ourselves, the studio and Michael’s estate that we shouldn’t do the show this years because we wanted the film to do the talking,” Phillips told the UK music industry trade publication Audience.
“Originally [Jackson’s creative partner] Kenny Ortega and I wanted to do a tribute because the production was so magnificent,” he added. “Michael was a genius and his vision would have made ‘This Is It’ the greatest arena show ever. It would have been the same production, but with other artists reprising Michael’s role.”
Phillips’s plans have not necessarily ended though. He is thinking of reprising the concept in 2010, possibly on Jackson’s 52nd birthday — August 29.
Jackson’s proposed 50 concerts at the O2 left a big gap on the venue’s calendar. Some of the dates have been filled by the high tech Walking with Dinosaurs family show and by comedian Michael McIntyre.
Talking about tickets, there have been reports, mostly originating from Phillips, that up to 40 percent of the Jackson ticket holders were going to retain their ducats instead of getting a refund. Philiips noted that 80 percent of the ticket buyers have decided whether they want a refund or a souvenir presentation of the ticket, and he anticipates that only 14 to 15 percent will opt for the latter.
The film has a two-week run scheduled for theaters, starting October 28, but the run can be extended if demand is unending. According to Phillips, “There were all these rumors that Michael wasn’t ready for the shows. This film will answer those allegations better than any person can.”
So AEG Live, who took a risk like any promoter, and the only entity in a concert situation at risk since everyone else has a guaranteed payment of some sort, will in all likelihood make a profit from merchandise, souvenir tickets and film ticket sales.