New Documentary to Give Inside Look into Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

As Michael Jackson’s 1982 album, Thriller, turns 40 in 2022, news of a documentary has arrived.

Giving fans an inside look, the film will chronicle the making of the multi-hit producing, record-breaking album. With Sony Music Entertainment and Jackson’s estate producing the project, journalist and filmmaker Nelson George will direct it.

“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,” the director said in a statement. “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.”

Jackson’s second solo album, Thriller changed everything for the artist and challenged the norm for the rest of the music industry. The album earned the star seven Top 10 singles, with “Beat It” and “Billie Jean” both charting at No. 1. It also saw 12 Grammy nominations, winning a record-setting eight of them. Certified triple diamond, Thriller has sold over 100 million albums worldwide since its debut. Even down to the songs’ accompanying videos, Jackson redefined what a music video could be.

George’s as-of-now untitled documentary will feature never-before-seen footage and interviews showcasing how Thriller came to be Thriller.

“Michael Jackson’s Thriller marked a momentous and pivotal moment in both music and pop culture around the world,” said Tom Mackay, Sony Music’s president of premium content. “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.”

The documentary will also focus on how the iconic album still holds influence over music, film, and dance today. “Michael opened and explored emotional depths and pushed the boundaries of sonic innovation on Thriller,” explained John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of the singer’s estate and, now, executive producers on the film.

The pair continued, “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. This documentary’s exploration of Michael’s process and impact is revelatory.”

Currently, the film is in production. A separate biopic about the legend’s life and career was also announced earlier this year.

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