This week John Landis appeared at the BFI in London, and I was lucky enough to be in the audience. After a showing of his fantastic car salesman doc, Slasher, Landis sat down to talk about his entire career, relaying anecdotes from his thirty plus years in the business, and his jobs that ranged from stuntman to director and everything in between.
During the audience Q&A someone asked Landis if The Making of Thriller would ever be hitting DVD, and he confirmed that the hour long doc, along with the remastered longform video, would be coming soon. There have been lawsuits and royalty issues holding up any further releases, and although Landis didn’t say they had all been cleared up, he did make it seem as though Jackson’s death had presented an opportunity for the sides to come together and hash things out.
But more intriguing than news of a home video release was Landis telling the crowd that the folks behind Jackson’s estate want to turn the video into 3D. The director is fine with the idea, even if he doesn’t seem to be the biggest fan of the tech, but it wasn’t clear if the 3D version of Thriller was intended for theatrical distribution. One assumes that’s the basic plan, as 3D TVs don’t have the kind of saturation into the market needed to make a 3D Blu-Ray of the video all that worthwhile.
How a theatrical release of a 3D Thriller would work is beyond me; the video was specially screened with Disney’s Fantasia to qualify it for the Oscars in 1983, but it’s way too short to work on its own, and it’s unlikely anyone would want to sit through The Making of Thriller at a movie theater. But could this be just one segment of a movie made up of 3D versions of Michael Jackson videos? That’s sheer speculation on my part, mind you, but it does seem like something that could rake in some more money. And you don’t make Thriller 3D without the main intention of making more money.