Forty years since the release of Michael Jackson’s Thriller album, the music legend’s estate and Sony Music Entertainment have teamed up to release a new official documentary showing never-before-seen footage and interviews in the making of the album.
Thriller remains the biggest-selling album of all time, estimated to have sold at least 67 million copies worldwide, according to the Guinness World Records.
The album, released on November 30, 1982 by Epic Records, is Jackson’s sixth studio album and the second by Jackson as a solo artist on Epic Records, then a division of CBS Records.
It produced several money hits including The Girl Is Mine, Beat It, Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, Human Nature, and P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing).
Billie Jean, the most-streamed Michael Jackson song, and Thriller, the only music video that has been inducted onto the elite National Film Registry of the Library of Congress, are also part of the Thriller album.
“Michael Jackson’s Thriller marked a momentous and pivotal moment in both music and pop culture around the world.”
Tom Mackay, Sony Music Entertainment
Thriller bagged a record 12 Grammy nods and a record-setting eight wins including Album of the Year. It was also the first album to be certified triple diamond by the RIAA.
“The release of Thriller redefined Michael Jackson, taking him from teen star to adult superstar, who composed memorable songs, sang beautifully and reached the highest level of on-stage performance,” according to filmmaker Nelson George, who is currently directing the documentary.
George, an American journalist, author and music and culture critic, made his directorial debut in 2007 with Life Support, starring Queen Latifah. Latifah won numerous awards for that performance including a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild award, and the NAACP Image Award. That film was also named best TV film of the year by the NAACP.
In June 2010, George published Thriller: The Musical Life of Michael Jackson, a chronicle of the Thriller album where George explored the making of the album.
Added George: “The album, and the short films they inspired, created a new template for marrying music and image. It’s been a privilege to explore this extraordinary album and revisit its magic.”
The Thriller documentary will be produced by Company Name and distributed by Optimum Productions and Sony Music Entertainment. It will mark the third documentary film focusing on a Jackson album following the release of “Bad 25” in 2012 and “Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall” in 2016.
The King of Pop’s work has also been celebrated in a number of films including This Is It, Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas and MJ The Musical on Broadway.
“This documentary’s exploration of Michael’s process and impact is revelatory.”
John Branca and John McClain, Michael Jackson Estate
“Michael opened and explored emotional depths and pushed the boundaries of sonic innovation on Thriller. In the process, he breached destructive barriers in the music industry and literally united the world through his music: there isn’t a place on this planet that hasn’t been exhilarated by the music of Michael Jackson.
This documentary’s exploration of Michael’s process and impact is revelatory,” John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of the Michael Jackson Estate, said of the film.
Meanwhile, Tom Mackay, President, Premium Content, Sony Music Entertainment, said: “Michael Jackson’s Thriller marked a momentous and pivotal moment in both music and pop culture around the world.”
“We’re excited to expand the estate’s documentary collection with our upcoming film and look forward to sharing it with fans around the world,” Mackay added.
Colin Hanks and Sean Stuart from Company Name are the producers of the film, while John Branca and John McClain are the Executive Producers.Music Business Worldwide