Landis Revives Michael Jackson ‘Thriller’ in 3D

Courtesy of Pascal Le Segretain via Getty Images
Courtesy of Pascal Le Segretain via Getty Images

John Landis, the original director of Michael Jackson’s legendary 1983 music video short film “Thriller” will be re-releasing the spooky video in 3D. After a long dispute with the deceased singer’s estate that was drawn out over many years, Landis finally received the ok to proceed with the project. Landis filed the lawsuit in 2009 about six months before Jackson passed away. His accusation against the pop icon charged him of “fraudulent, malicious, and oppressive conduct,” during the making of the video. Landis filed for fifty percent of the music video’s profits, which was rumoured to be around $1 million at the time. Concerning the legal dispute, Landis told NY Daily News, “That lawsuit went on for so many years, (but) we settled and they paid me finally. And so, actually there is something happening with ‘Thriller.’ ”

Exactly what is happening includes talk of the fourteen minute long music video running in theaters, as well as being released on Blu-ray (previously yet to be done), and at promotional outlets. Landis can admit that, “It is going to reappear in a highly polished and three-dimensional way that is very exciting on the big screen,” but jokes that if he tells any more, “I might have to kill you.” Reports state that Landis has actually been working on the project for several months in secret already. The iconic video has yet to be released on Blu-ray, viewed in cinemas, or in 3D, a vision that Jackson had apparently had for some time. According to a source close to the Jackson family, his This Is It show in London planned to feature a segment that included a 3D performance. The source also told the Daily News that the estate has been considering making “Thriller” a video game, as either a “dance experience or a zombie-style,shoot-’ em-up-style movie.” There appear to be no limits on the number of directions the “Thriller” concept could go. The Jackson estate is also working on projects that include a “film, documentary, and a Broadway play about Michael,” as well as “internet games,” and “multiple albums,” according to paperwork officiated by Jackson estate lawyers, John McClain and John Branca.

At the time of creation, the music video’s budget ran about $500,000 – more than ten times the cost of the average music video in 1983, however producers were able to justify the exorbitant amount by citing how successful Jackson’s earlier projects (“Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,”) were. “Thriller” was rated the greatest music video of all time on Rolling Stone and was inducted into the National Film Registry by the Library Of Congress in 2009, making it the first music video in history to receive this honor which recognizes works for being “culturally, historically, or esthetically” significant. Director Landis was also recognized for his work at the Eyegore Awards at Universal Hollywood Theme Park in L.A. last week. Other spooky works of his include Twilight Zone: The Movie and An American Werewolf in London.