Michael Jackson - This Is It - Documentary Analysis

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  • Michael Jacksons This Is It, is a documentaryfilm about his last series of events. The 2009 film was basically a compilation of interviews that the King of Pop had held, as well as some amazing backstage footage in preparation for the series of fifty back-to-back shows which he was planning do, at the O2 in London which, the tickets were sold out for, almost immediately.
  • While this documentary was being made it was clear by the staff members that Michael was very energetic, as seen in the film and it was apparent that he was doing well, from a health perspective and the tragedy which had occurred on the 25 thJune 2009, was as surprising to them as it was to the rest of the world.


  • The documentary, This is It took its name from the string of 50 back to back concerts that Jackson had signed up to do, which were scheduled to begin in July 2009 and continue through to March 2010.
  • The tickets for the shows however were sold almost immediately, meaning that approximately 1 million people would see the show in total, giving Jackson a great deal of money. It was said that the first 10 shows alone would have earned Michael Jackson a staggering 50million pounds.
  • This was Michael Jacksons next big thing after his world tour which finished in 1997. He announced the London concerts at the O2 Arena, at a press conference saying that he would do a total of 10 shows, as mentioned earlier his tickets sold out almost immediately in under an hour and the public demand in tickets resulted in Jackson signing up for 40 more, giving a total of 50 shows.


  • AEG Live, the company that promoted the events released a promotional video which took up an entire commercial break setting a record for ITV.
  • 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.


  • The American documentary concert film, documented the rehearsals of the concerts which were cancelled due to the King of Pops demise in June 2009.
  • Kenny Ortega, the director of the film, had confirmed that none of the recorded footage was to initially be made for a film however after Michael Jackson had passed away, it would be a tribute to him and his work as well as being made for his millions of fans.


  • The film was not intended to be released until the 30 thof October, however it was released on the 28 th(2 days earlier) by a strong demand by Jacksons fans. It was also scheduled to be shown in cinemas from the 28 thOctober 2009 until the 12 thNovember 2009, however, the date was extended because of the fans demand.
  • The film is now the highest grossing concert movie and documentary in the history of cinema.


  • The documentary reached number one in the box office.
  • The weekend the film came out, it grossed $23 million in the United States alone!
  • The total gross revenue made by the film, made in total was $260.8 million.
  • This made it the highest grossing documentary or concert movie of all time making an iconic mark in cinema history.


  • The film had faced criticisms from many people. AEG Live, the promotion company were criticised that they were only participating in the film, purely to make a profit.
  • Many of Michael Jacksons family had confirmed that they did not agree with the film being made and went as far as trying to stop the collaboration between Sony Pictures and AEG Live.
  • The film had also been surrounded by many allegations that there were body doubles in some of the scenes, in place of Jackson, which Sony Pictures deny.
  • In August 2009, a judge in court decided a deal between, Jacksons Estate, AEG Live and Sony Pictures.


  • The content of the documentary film, This is It, was based on some of the most well known , recognisable and most iconic songs performed by the King of Pop, that are marked in iconic music history.
  • The film consists of the famous dance moves that were carried out in the original music videos.
  • The performances that were rehearsed in the film, were very elaborate and expensive. The thriller video consisted of actors and included virtual effects to entice the audience with.
  • The costumes were also very expensive as it was all bespoke and made to Michaels requirements. Some of these accessories include having the famous white glove made for him and a jacket made with a staggering 300 Swarovski crystals encrusted onto it!


  • Kenny Ortega was born on the 18 thApril 1950 and is famous foe being an award winning choreographer and director.
  • He is very famous for choreographing music videos. His debut was in the 1980s with Madonnas Material Girl, which was released on the 30 thJanuary, 1985.
  • In 2008 Ortega was honoured as one of the most powerful and influential Hispanics in entertainment by the Imagen Foundation.


  • Kenny also choreographed many children's movies that made it big. These includeHigh School Musical, High School Musical 2, High School Musical 3: Senior YearandThe Cheetah Girls.
  • As mentioned earlier, The 50 Events that Michael Jackson signed up for was the next big thing of his since hisHIstory World Tourfrom 1996 and 1997. Both of these events were choreographed by Kenny. Kenny also worked with Jackson and had collaborated with him on other occasions such asThe Dangerous World Tour(1992-1993).
  • Ortega began working for the 50 gigs which Jackson had promised, which was cancelled due to Michaels unexpected and sudden demise.
  • He then made a documentary feature film, on the interviews and rehearsals from the Michael Jackson concerts which were filmed at Los Angeles Forum and Staples Centre. Ortega named the film after the name of the concerts,Michael Jacksons: This is It.The film was released on the 28 thOctober 2009
  • Ortega directed Michael Jacksons public memorial which was held at the staples centre and was aired on most TV stations, around the world on the 7 thJuly 2009. It reached an audience of 31 million people in the United States alone and was viewed by hundreds of millions (statistics even say billions) of people world wide and on the internet. At the end of the memorial service, Kenny also released a rendition of Michael Jacksons charity single We Are The World, whichwas originally released in 1985. It was created for the This is It concerts featuring Michael Jacksons backing singers on lead vocals with dancers performing around them.
  • Kenny Ortega had signed up to direct the 2010Footlooseremake, but had dropped out in October 2009.


  • Below is a link to view a trailer to the documentary film, This is It (2009)
  • Click here to view a trailer...