So the news out of New York Comic Con is that Thriller 3D will not get its full outing until Halloween 2018! That’s not a typo. We really are talking ONE WHOLE YEAR from now. This comes after some private viewings at Venice & Toronto film festivals and Scream launch events in London, Sydney, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo and Los Angeles. The Estate told MJWN that they had hoped to feature Thriller 3D as the precursor to a new Halloween film release this year, but didn’t find any suitable and so will wait until next year.

Firstly, it seems highly unlikely that there were none suitable as this year has seen around 10 films in the horror genre released in time for Halloween. Perhaps the option was looking for a more ‘light hearted’ or cartoon horror to place in front of (none of which came out this year), reaching a significantly younger audience. However, it should be remembered that Thriller is certified as a 15, meaning anybody under the age of 15 is not eligible to view it. Additionally, and probably more likely is that Sony’s film arm hasn’t released any Halloween / Horror-esque movies for the season and so they decided to limit their options to that.

The delay is of course disappointing news to much of the fan community who have heard the excitement coming out of the Scream launches where Thriller 3D has been previewed. As somebody who had the chance to see it in London, the restoration of the colours on the original and the transformation of the footage is incredible. You really get to see Michael and the zombies in all their glory and its spectacular. The audio for London was unfortunately not incredible and we’re now learning this has since been replaced with the correct, original since most of us at the London event found the version we heard lacklustre and missing vital components of the original… “You hear the door slam” Michael sings, but the sound of a door slamming there was not. Thankfully, fans at the rest of the launch events will get to see the true Thriller 3D which is the original footage and audio, enhanced for 3D viewing.

It seems like an opportunity missed. We’ve heard John Landis hyping up his work on Thriller 3D for the past 12 months, being continued by the announcements of screenings in Venice and Toronto, followed by the Scream album and Michael Jackson’s Halloween cartoon. It all seemed to be part of a Halloween concept that would include the much talked about Thriller 3D. Alas not. It will instead be released once Scream is a year old, the cartoon is on syndication and there are no premieres. That’s not to say it won’t generate news or social media coverage when it does finally play out, just that now was the time to strike for maximum impact and…its been missed.

In talking with friends, I had a concept for Thriller 3D’s ‘arrival’ that I think would have worked and achieved what the Estate often state they’re looking for: New audiences.

Much like with the King of Pop album release, the Estate could have teamed up with some major publications or stores where members of the public could go in and claim a free pair of MJ 3D glasses. Then on Halloween, in partnership with Youtube, they could stream Thriller 3D to a global audience. As with the original, it would be an ‘event’ in itself, aligning Michael with a globally recognised brand and Michael would no doubt rack up record viewing numbers, ousting the likes of Taylor Swift whose videos gain over a billion views in a week!

I understand there’s a desire to have Thriller on the big screen. Bigger Michael is always better and trust me, seeing it on the big screen was incredible. But we’re in an era where ‘reach’ and ‘accessibility’ is important as well as meeting the demands of the moment. The moment right now is that the world is ready for Thriller 3D and with all the other activities being rolled out, it made sense for it to come now. iMax (which was the plan) is a nice sentiment, but shouldn’t be the only avenue. When we’re talking reach, Michael was great at making sure his reach was vast and not limited to those who could afford £25+ for an IMAX cinema ticket.

But unfortunately, the world will have to wait another year to see this masterpiece in 3D. I’ve no doubt in Michael’s ability to still wow the world with this short-film, I just hope that whatever deals are struck means the maximum number of fans (fans first please!) and public / new audiences get to experience Thriller 3D all over the world.

Pez Jax

Source: Pez Jax / MJVibe.com