Legendary singer’s impact continues to blossom in the two years since his death; MTV News breaks down the figures.
By Gil Kaufman
On the second anniversary of the King of Pop’s passing, MTV News took a look at the enduring appeal of MJ’s music, videos and imagery, which continue to fascinate and attract fans across the globe thanks to a series of posthumous albums, a movie, video games and two upcoming Cirque du Soleil live shows.
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$72 million: According to Box Office Mojo, Jackson’s posthumous concert film, “This Is It,” has grossed more than $72 million to date domestically and $189 million in foreign markets for a worldwide take over more than $261 million. It ranks as the #2 music documentary of all-time behind Justin Bieber’s “Never Say Never.” The film has also generated nearly $45 million in DVD sales in the U.S.
16: In May, Jackson lodged his first #1 on the Billboard magazine Dance/ Club Play Songs chart in 16 years with the latest single from his posthumous Michael album, “Hollywood Tonight.”
2: Number of posthumous albums that have been released since Michael’s death in June 2009. Last year’s Michael has sold just over 510,000 copies to date, while the This Is It collection has moved nearly 1 million copies to date in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.
15,000: The number of videos submitted by fans since March for the crowdsourced video for “Behind the Mask.” After they were edited down by a five-person team over two months, the resulting clip used submissions from more than 1,600 participants from 103 countries.
3 million: The amount of copies sold of the Ubisoft “Michael Jackson: The Experience” video game worldwide.
$57 million: The reported cost of Cirque du Soleil’s traveling MJ show, “The Immortal World Tour, which is slated to kick off on October 2.
$1 billion: That gaudy figure is the reported amount the Jackson estate had generated by last June on the first anniversary of the singer’s death. According to Billboard, the revenue was generated by a combination of music sales ($429 million), film/TV revenue ($392 million), music publishing ($130 million), licensing ($35 million) and a $31 million recording contract. (A spokesperson for Jackson’s estate declined to provide updated figures for this story.)
$310 million: The amount of gross earnings reported by the executors of the estate in a December 2010 court filing detailing the progress made in paying off the $400 million in debt run up by the spendthrift singer during his lifetime.
16.1 million: MJ was always a big singles artist. Yes, Thriller is one of the best-selling albums of all time, but even in death, fans can’t resist cherry-picking some of Michael’s best songs. That explains why he’s sold more than 16 million digital tracks since June 28, 2009, the first sales week following his passing, according to Nielsen SoundScan. To put that in perspective, from the time Nielsen began counting digital tracks in 2004 until the week before Jackson’s death, the singer had sold just over 8.1 million digital tracks, a figure that has doubled in just the past two years.
2013: The projected launch for a second, non-touring Cirque show celebrating Jackson. The yet-untitled show is slated to open in the spring of 2013 at a new theater being built at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
$25 million to $50 million: That’s how much Jackson’s estate takes in on an annual basis thanks to his stake in the half-million-song Sony/ATV catalog, which includes titles by Elvis, Lady Gaga, Eminem, Beyoncé and Bob Dylan.
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