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Michael Jackson's Movie Career: This Was It


"Ben" is a song written by Don Black and Walter Scharf for the 1972 film of the same name (a spin-off to the 1971 killer rat film "Willard"). It was performed by Lee Montgomery in the film and by Michael Jackson over the closing credits. "Ben" won a Golden Globe for Best Song. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1973.

Though Jackson only had one major role in a feature movie — 1978's "The Wiz" — he worked with top film directors on videos and short films. Produced by Rob Cohen and directed by Sidney Lumet, "The Wiz" starred Jackson with Diana Ross, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross, Mabel King, Theresa Merritt, Thelma Carpenter, Lena Horne, and Richard Pryor. Its story was reworked from William F. Brown's Broadway libretto by Joel Schumacher, and Quincy Jones supervised the adaptation of songs by Charlie Smalls and Luther Vandross.

"Thriller" is often cited as a pop culture phenomenon and a Halloween anthem. The "Thriller" music video was directed by John Landis and premiered on MTV on December 2, 1983. Many elements of the video have had a lasting impact on popular culture, and it was the first music video inducted into the National Film Registry. It has been named the greatest video of all-time by various publications and readers' polls.

"Michael Jackson's This Is It" is a 2009 American documentary–concert film about Jackson's rehearsals and preparation for the concert series of the same name scheduled to start on July 13, 2009 at The O2 Arena in London, but canceled due to his death 18 days prior on June 25. The film includes additional behind the scenes footage, including dancer auditions and costume design. The footage was filmed in California at the Staples Center and The Forum.

The film received generally positive reviews from both critics and Jackson fans. The portrayal of Jackson and his performances were generally praised, while criticism mainly consisted of both critics and fans have felt that the film was made just to profit from Jackson's death and that he would not have wanted the film released because he was a "perfectionist". Despite some fans boycotting the film and his family not endorsing the film, the ticket sales for "This Is It" broke international records a month before its release. It made $261 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing documentary/concert film of all-time.

Shefik aided in the production of a Jackson retrospective video for TIME, where he was employed as Technical Producer. The video highlighted the theatrical release of "This Is It", as well as Jackson's career in film, including 1986's "Captain EO" (written by George Lucas, and directed by Francis Ford Coppola), 1987's "Bad" (written by Richard Price, and directed by Martin Scorsese), and more.

Production: Shefik

Last Updated: April 22, 2023

About Shefik

Celebrating over 25 years in the entertainment industry, Shefik has held senior-level positions at many Fortune 500 companies and celebrated brands, including IBM, NBCUniversal, and MTV World. He currently serves as a Technical Lead at NBCUniversal. His work has been featured in television broadcasts and video productions for TIME, The Washington Center, "Unsung" (TV One), and Broadway World. He is currently the Executive Producer and Host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Shefik presents Invocation", which is broadcast on over 20 terrestrial radio stations and frequencies throughout the United States, as well as the internationally distributed video series of the same name via Prime Video and other notable outlets.

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