Today (Wednesday, Aug. 29) would have been late pop legend Michael Jackson's 60th birthday, and that event is being commemorated with some, shall we say, thrilling news.
Jackson's estate and IMAX announced today that Jackson's iconic video — more like a short film, actually — for the song "Thriller" has been remastered for IMAX 3D and will be shown in IMAX 3D theaters for one week only, beginning on Sept. 21. The 14-minute film will be screened in front of the upcoming dark fantasy film The House with a Clock in its Walls.
John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of Jackson's estate, said in announcing the release:
“Michael loved to give his fans the latest and greatest in technology and entertainment experiences so a partnership with IMAX to bring Thriller 3D to theaters made perfect sense. Fans are going to love this."
A 3D version of the piece premiered almost exactly a year ago at the Venice Film Festival, but now the Jackson estate has taken the next technological step by remastering the 1983 video and its audio tracks for the large-format IMAX 3D experience. Other than that, the film has not been recut or re-edited.
The video broke new ground upon its initial release 35 years ago, with director John Landis stretching the boundaries of what a music video could achieve and bringing a more cinematic aesthetic to the form. The video actually premiered theatrically in Los Angeles, where it enjoyed a three-week run at the Avco Theater.
Jackson had apparently been a fan of Landis' movie An American Werewolf in London and wanted the video to have a horror movie slant, while incorporating the innovative transformation prosthetics seen in that movie. Landis came aboard as director, bringing makeup legend Rick Baker to work on it as well, and also co-wrote the screenplay with Jackson. Veteran horror film star Vincent Price contributed narration for the clip just as he did on the original song.
The video was the first (and, to date, only) of its kind to be inducted into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress and is widely considered the most influential music video of all time, while the Thriller album remains the best-selling in the world.
Fans worldwide are celebrating Jackson's birthday today, with events ranging from a gathering around a giant crown in London to gatherings in Japan, Russia, Spain and other countries. A party for 1,300 fans is being thrown in Las Vegas, while Jackson's label, Sony Music, is releasing a remix of his biggest hits by producer/DJ Mark Ronson called "Diamonds are Invincible." Jackson died in June 2009 at the age of 50.