Towards the end of last year, John Branca shared a video on TikTok and Instagram (featuring images from this website), announcing the upcoming "Thriller 40" documentary. He mentioned that the documentary was scheduled to be released in January 2023. Later on, November 30th, an early version of the film directed by Nelson George was screened at movie theaters across nine major cities worldwide.
However, since then, there has been a prolonged period of silence, leaving fans understandably bewildered and frustrated. The early cut contained previously unseen footage of Michael discussing "Thriller" and included a glimpse of the recording of "The Girl Is Mine" with Paul McCartney. Additionally, it showcased the 1984 "Victory" tour in high definition for the first time ever, leaving fans eagerly awaiting the release of the full documentary.
Despite a lack of updates from the Estate over the past six months, a representative from the MJ Online Team, who serve as communication officers for the Estate, has finally issued a statement today:
"We appreciate you, and care about your concern for the legacy of Michael Jackson. We also agree with you that it is important to reach new listeners and develop new young Michael Jackson fans. The Estate makes efforts intended to facilitate these new connections. For example, we are pleased when deeper cuts from Michael's catalog like "Heaven Can Wait" can be seen trending on TikTok because young fans are creating videos using the official sounds for Michael's entire catalog that have been available there. And when The Estate sees these trends, it may also lead to other behind-the-scenes actions on their part or that of Sony. Just because you don't see what they are doing, it doesn't mean that nothing is being done.
We understand you all are excited to see the Thriller 40 documentary. While it was shown as a one-time-only "in production" preview in select cities around the globe on the anniversary of the album release, I would remind you that there has not been an official release date given or distribution partner announced. So, to claim the Estate does not want to or is not able to release Thriller 40 is a flat-out false accusation. I can assure that we have been told there will be a release, but the date is not yet being announced. When it is time, an official announcement will be shared with fans and the media, and of course also posted to Michael's social media channels."