Michael Jackson's estate negotiates 'last days' documentary deal

Michael Jackson was buried less than two weeks ago and already, The Wall Street Journalreports, "AEG Live and the estate of Michael Jackson are negotiating with several Hollywood studios, seeking at least $50 million in exchange for the theatrical-and-DVD distribution rights to a documentary about the final days of the late pop singer, according to people familiar with the matter."

AEG, the promoter behind the Michael Jackson comeback tour, is looking to recoup the $30 million it had already spent putting the concerts together. Still, the Jackson estate owns the rights to the film footage and would likely take the majority of the proceeds if a deal is reached. Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount, and Universal Pictures are all set to be in the running for the documentary deal.

AEG has over 100 hours of footage of the King of Pop preparing for his tour. But the real question is whether people will really line up to spend money to watch a drug-addled shadow of a legend, accused child molester getting ready for the "Let's Avoid Bankruptcy!" tour that he didn't even want to do in the first place -- whose pressure and stress may very well have been a contributing factor in his death?

I'm sure that more than few gawkers will pay up to watch creepy footage of Jackson right before he died, but AEG and the Jackson estate are reportedly looking for at least $50 million for the footage. Is it really worth anything close to that, given how poorly received (critically and commercially) Jackson's most recent efforts have been. Sure, he's hot right now but it's been less than a month since he died. Will they be able to dump a DVD on the market before he fades back into the past?

In a related and similarly opportunistic item, AEG has been trying to convince people who bought tickets to Jackson's concerts to keep them as souvenirs in lieu of getting their money back -- an IQ test that most people have passed: Fewer than 15 percent of the ticket holders have taken it up on that less than generous offer.
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