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Michael Jackson's Movie 'This Is It' isn't the end for the King of Pop


Just three months after his death, Michael Jackson  continues to outdo himself.   Michael Jackson's "This Is It"

Tickets for his concert film "This Is It" sold out  immediately in media markets such as Philadelphia and Los Angeles yesterday. Some fans lined up days before tickets were made available to the public in anticipation of this event.  There are still some available in Philly. Don't wait too long, though. You're probably better off looking around smaller movie theaters in the area as opposed to the bigger venues.

Whether it's in LA, China, or Philadelphia, Michael Jackson's "sudden" death last June has made him bigger than ever. Since that time, his singles have recently amassed the one million mark in sales, and his albums have done just as well. Those figures will likely increase with the release of his new single "This Is It" on October 12th, the concert album of the movie with the same name on October 27th, and last but not least, "This Is It," which will be released in theaters for a limited two-week run starting the next day. The film chronicles Jackson as he plans for his 50 night stay at the O2 Arena in London that was cancelled after his death. In all likelihood, this may turn out to be the most recent footage (and probably last) featuring Jackson prior to his death. But if you think that this movie is the King of Pop's final curtain call, relax fans: he's not going anywhere, anytime soon.

Michael Jackson is just the latest of many pop icons whose legacy will continue for years to come even after his death. So what exactly IS it that propels these now historic figures to this status once their time on this planet ends? There's not just one reason, there are several. Maybe it's the fact that their sagging fortunes at the time of their deaths made people realize how much they miss them once they are gone. Maybe the sentimental factor kicks in when fans realize that they will never again witness the talents of their fallen heroes. Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison all experienced similar fates in their lives as Michael Jackson. Whether it was general paranoia, drug addiction, or having their name in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, neither three were at the top of their commercial success when they died.

Their enduring popularity however, has proved this to be irrelevant. The Elvis phenomenon continues to grow. Just hop on a plane to Vegas and I'm sure you'll see several friends dressed together wearing jumpsuits as you prepare to take flight. Almost forty years after Hendrix' and Morrison's death, there are still signs of the two existing in the mainstream of pop culture. "Purple Haze" is over 40 years old, but was blaring over the ACME loudspeakers this afternoon as I was getting lunch. How many Jim Morrison poetry books have been released in the last five years? Whether it comes from their estates and/or families looking to cash in and make a quick buck at the expense of their departed loved ones (Michael Jackson's estate will receive a reported $90 million dollar profit from the film), or the corporate "suits" that see the same dollar sings, bottom line is that Jackson's passing continues a trend amongst celebrities no longer with us: They become bigger after death than they were when they are alive, and are probably worth more dead than they were alive.

Moreover, merchandising is a very powerful tool. For every Hendrix T-Shirt you see, you can see just as many of Michael Jackson, whose fan base rivals that of the Beatles and Elvis. Factor in his cult status while he was alive with the fact that you continue to hear his songs on the radio more now than ever. This furthermore proves that Michael Jackson mania is back and in full effect. All we need is a Rubik's Cube, knee-high socks, and Moses Malone taking the Sixers to the NBA Title and we will have come full circle.

So contrary to the title of the film, this will NOT be it for Michael Jackson. The "powers that be" are just getting started. After all, do you think Columbia Pictures will be satisfied with just the rights to "This Is It"? There is a DVD to be released. Then there's the director's cut, director's cut-deluxe edition, deluxe edition with a zipper jacket........................

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