This Is It was a planned series of fifty concerts by Michael Jackson to be held at The O2 Arena in London. They were scheduled to begin in July 2009 and continue through March 2010. However, with all concerts sold out, Jackson died less than three weeks before the first concert date. Jackson officially announced the concerts at a press conference held inside The O2 arena. AEG Live, the concert promoters, released a promotional video that took up an entire commercial break, setting a record for ITV. The shows were to be Jackson's first major series of concerts since the HIStory World Tour finished in 1997, and had been cited as one of the year's most important musical events. Over one million people would have attended in total. Randy Phillips, president and chief executive of AEG Live, stated that the first 10 dates alone would have earned the singer approximately £50 million. Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga were performing a duet called "Pictures".
Originally only 10 concerts were announced, but the tickets were sold out in less than an hour and the public demand for tickets resulted in 40 more concerts to be added, resulting in 50 concerts in total. Ticket sales broke several records and AEG Live stated that Jackson could have sold more dates. Jackson's album sales increased following the announcement. In preparation for the concert series, the pop singer had been collaborating with numerous high profile figures, such as fashion designer Christian Audigier, choreographer Kenny Ortega and bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno. Prior to Jackson's death, Allgood Entertainment had planned to sue the musician for $40 million, claiming that he had breached an exclusivity agreement with them by agreeing to the This Is It concerts.
In light of Jackson's passing, AEG Live offered either full refunds to all ticket holders or a special souvenir ticket designed by the entertainer. The cancelled 50 shows, its record breaking ticket sales, and its potential for a worldwide tour, deemed Jackson's shows "the greatest concerts that never happened." Columbia Pictures acquired the footage of the show rehearsals and made a concert film entitled Michael Jackson's This Is It. The Jackson estate received 90% of the profit made while the remaining 10% went to AEG Live. Columbia Pictures guaranteed at least $60 million for the rights. To coincide with the release of the concert footage, an accompanying album was also released.
Lady Gaga as opening act
During the interview with Larry King, Gaga also addressed rumors that she was scheduled to collaborate with Michael Jackson before his sudden death last June. "You know, it's always very difficult because I don't necessarily like to talk about those very personal things that happened", she said. "I guess I can speak about it now. I was actually asked to open for Michael on his tour. We were going to open for him at the O2.
"And we were working on making it happen. And I suppose there was some talk about the openers doing some duets with Michael onstage. But Michael's death was devastating for me regardless of whether I was supposed to go on tour with him", she continued. "He's such an inspiration and remarkable human being. I guess... some of my fascination with death and the demise of the celebrity goes along with me watching these hugely iconic and amazing people that I have heralded and admired become destroyed, whether self-destroyed or destroyed by the media.".
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