Michael Jackson | Universal snaps up international distribution for upcoming biopic Michael

Michael Jackson's star on the Hollywood walk of fame
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Michael, the upcoming biopic of Michael Jackson, is to start shooting once strikes lift – and a distribution deal has been inked as well.

One of the many films held up by the ongoing Hollywood actors’ strike – which remains unresolved – is the planned biopic of Michael Jackson. The life story of the singer, who died in 2009 at the age of 50, is set to be directed by Antoine Fuqua (who’s enjoyed another hit this year with the Denzel Washington-headlined The Equalizer 3).

Bohemian Rhapsody producer Graham King is involved with Michael, along with John Branca and John McClain (not that one) of the Michael Jackson Estate. Jaafar Jackson will be playing the lead role.

Lionsgate is backing the film, and now it’s struck a deal that gives Universal Pictures the international distribution rights to it. As such, here in the UK, the movie will bear the Universal logo, with Lionsgate taking on the US release.

Few are expecting anything even vaguely contentious in the film, given it has the backing of the Michael Jackson Estate. As such, the controversies that followed Jackson in the final years of his life – partly covered in the two-part documentary Leaving Neverland – are expected to be absent.

In terms of a release date, there a bit of a ‘how long is a piece of string’ answer to that. Until the actors’ strike is resolved, production can’t get underway. We’d imagine that it’s a project pretty much ready to go once actors get back to it, and then it’s going to be a good year after that at the earliest before we see the movie on a cinema screen. At an absolute push, it could be ready for the end of 2024. Don’t hold us to that, though.


Read more: Bohemian Rhapsody 2 still being explored, confirms Brian May

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