Michael Jackson’s This Is It bounced back from a soft Saturday for a stronger Sunday up 18% to $8.3M and a weekend actual of $23.2M domestic. That’s still underwhelming given all the pre-sales hype. But for the past 5 days, the companies behind the film have boasted nonstop to the media about how much money they have made now that the pic went over $101M worldwide. So, if both Sony and Anschutz Entertainment Group are taken at their word, then how about both companies stepping up to the plate and forking over that $6 million to reimburse L. A. taxpayers? The cash strapped City Of Los Angeles facing a $530 million budget deficit wound up stuck with the bill for the millions of dollars spent to police last summer’s star-studded tribute to Michael Jackson held at AEG’s Staples Center arena in downtown Los Angeles. An attempt to collect donations from Jackson fans to help cover the costs was later abandoned by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who at first supported the idea. The Police Department deployed 3,200 officers and other services after projecting that as many as 250,000 people would converge on downtown streets for the service. But only ticket holders and about 1,000 fans showed up. At first the LA City Council demanded that the Jackson concert promoter and Staples Center owner AEG Live cover all the costs, but Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa rejected that idea, claiming it was a world-class city’s responsibility to provide police protection. But since then there’s been a public backlash. For months now, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has tried to recover the $6M from AEG as the city struggles with a budget deficit. But AEG President/CEO Tim Leiweke keeps wanting to pay only $1.6M. The city has a one-year deadline to sue to recover its costs. When I mentioned over the weekend to a Sony bigwig that it might be a nice PR gesture for the studio and AEG to pick up the $6M tab, the exece claimed not to know what I was talking about. Puh-leeze.
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