- Michael Jackson’s Iconic “Thriller” Album to Be Subject of Official Documentary
- Oct 04, 2022
Nelson George Directs Documentary for The Estate of Michael Jackson and Sony Music Entertainment
New York, New York – October 4, 2022 – To commemorate the 40-year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s revolutionary Thriller album, the Estate of Michael Jackson and Sony Music Entertainment are celebrating the artistic vision that anchored the biggest selling album of all time with a new official documentary. Directed by acclaimed journalist, music historian, and filmmaker Nelson George, the film which is currently in production takes fans back in time to the making of the record-breaking album and release of revolutionary short films that redefined the music video format and captivated audiences globally. “Billie Jean” remains the most streamed Michael Jackson song and “Thriller” is the only music video that has been inducted onto the elite National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.
Featuring never-before-seen footage and candid interviews, the as yet untitled documentary chronicles thepoint in Jackson’s career that launched the singer into mega-stardom and created a pop culture phenomenon that is woven through the culture and continues to influence the worlds of music, television, dance, fashion and more to this day.
“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,” said Nelson 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 music on Thriller is so dynamic and singular that it defied any definition of rock, pop or soul that had gone before. “Beat It” was a new kind of pop-rock hybrid and demolished the longstanding segregation between black and white music with Eddie Van Halen’s incendiary guitar. On “The Girl Is Mine,” a black man and a white man bantered about the same girl. When a fledgling MTV, which was programming white rock artists almost exclusively, refused to play the video for “Billie Jean” Epic persisted. Once the wall came crashing down, MTV’s ratings soared and a door was opened for a generation of African American artists. “He was MTV’s Jackie Robinson,” said cultural critic Touré
Thriller was the second studio album by Jackson as a solo artist on Epic Records. It went on to capture a record 12 Grammy® nominations and a record-setting eight wins, including Album of the Year. And Michael captured a record eight Grammy Awards that same night, including for “E.T. The Storybook” album. Since its debut, Thriller has sold over 100 million albums worldwide, and was the first album to be certified triple diamond by the RIAA.
The latest Optimum Productions and Sony Music Entertainment documentary, produced by Company Name, joins “Bad 25” and “Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall” as the third documentary film with a focus on a Jackson album. Additional productions celebrating Jackson’s unparalleled impact include the 2009 film, This Is It, Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas and MJ The Musical on Broadway.
“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”, stated John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of the Michael Jackson Estate. “This documentary’s exploration of Michael’s process and impactis revelatory.”
“Michael Jackson’s Thriller marked a momentous and pivotal moment in both music and pop culture around the world,” said Tom Mackay, President, Premium Content, Sony Music Entertainment. “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.”
Sony Music Entertainment is distributing the film. Colin Hanks and Sean Stuart from Company Name serve as producers. John Branca and John McClain serve as Executive Producers.