Michael Jackson (Associated Press photo)
Michael Jackson’s attempt to make a comeback off a musical version of his 1982 video “Thriller,” announced earlier this week, has already hit legal snags.
Director John Landis (“An American Werewolf in London”) sued Jackson and Broadway producer James L. Nederlander today, claiming they lack the proper rights to create a stage production based on “Thriller,” according to the Associated Press.
Nederlander announced earlier this week that his company had acquired the rights to “Thriller” and the songs from Jackon’s smash-hit album of the same title. He plans to make a Broadway show based on the video.
Landis co-wrote and directed the famed music video, and his lawsuit seeks to have it determined that Jackson doesn’t have adequate rights to transfer to Nederlander, and that therefore the producer doesn’t have the authority to develop the stage show.
Landis’ attorney, Miles J. Feldman, told the AP the director would seek to stop the show “if it becomes necessary.”
The AP couldn’t reach Nederlander or a New York attorney who has represented Jackson for comment. The AP says Jackson recently moved back to Los Angeles.
While Landis is personally suing Jackson over the proposed Broadway show, he also filed a suit a few days ago on behalf of his company, Levitsky Productions Inc., over unpaid royalties from “Thriller.” Landis claims he hasn’t been paid royalties on the groundbreaking video for at least four years.