Michael Jackson’s Estate Sued for Blocking Tribute Film

Michael Jackson’s Estate Sued for Blocking Tribute Film

Father of late producer wants access to King of Pop's music and personal videos.

Published December 3, 2015

The father of a deceased producer is suing Michael Jacksons estate for blocking a movie dedicated to the late King of Pop’s fans. Sharad Chandra Patel filed suit in a Los Angeles Superior Court Thursday in hopes of obtaining rights to Jackson’s "pre-existing materials, including music rights and home video footage.”  

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Sharad claims his son, Raju Patel’s, dying wish was to make a film called Messages to Michael. Raju died from cancer in 2005. Three years earlier, Raju and Jackson entered into a 50/50 film deal through their joint company, Neverland Entertainment, Sharad says.

In 2003, Jackson was arrested on child molestation charges, of which he was later acquitted in 2005.

Three months before Raju’s death, he and Jackson allegedly signed another contract for the film. The paperwork elects Raju “or his nominee” to go forward with production and was signed by father and son.

Jackson died from cardiac arrest in 2009. Sharad, a producer on the film, says he’s been trying to get access to the icon’s music and home videos ever since.  

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He’s being blocked by Jackson’s estate executors, John Branca and John McClain.Michael wanted to create a film tribute to the dedicated fans who stood by him during difficult times when many others turned their backs on Michael," the suit reads. "Michael trusted his good friend and filmmaker, Raju, to make the film a reality." 

Branca and McClain "have disregarded the terms of the agreement, as well as Michael's wishes for his fans, because [they] are simply motivated by the biggest payday,” says Sharad, referring to the 2009 documentary This Is It. Sharad accuses the estate of going for a larger profit with Sony’s This It It and reportedly garnering 90 percent of the film’s proceeds.

Sharad filed a creditor’s claim against the estate in 2010, it was denied this past September.

Jackson’s estate has earned over $1 billion since his death.   

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(Photo: Tim Whitby/Getty Images)

Written by Latifah Muhammad

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