This is how much money Michael Jackson’s family still makes in his name
His songs are back in the charts again
Since the airing of the documentary Leaving Neverland on HBO and Channel 4, everyone has been talking about Michael Jackson. The singer may have died in 2009 aged 50, but the Michael Jackson Estate reportedly makes even more money in his death than it did when he was alive.
The documentary shares the stories of two men, James Safechuck and Wade Robson, who both allege that when they were boys, they were sexually abused by Michael Jackson. The documentary has completely divided the public, and even celebrities have been reacting to it. Some believe the men, and others say they are liars, and only after money. But, how much money does Michael Jackson still make? Who looks after the Michael Jackson Estate fortune?
Since the airing of the documentary, Jackson's songs have climbed the UK iTunes charts again. While Billboard US reports Jackson's album sales fell 8,000 following Leaving Neverland's broadcast, reports say his compilation album has reached the number 23 spot on the UK iTunes albums charts. The Essential Michael Jackson, Thriller and Bad albums also have made their way into the top 200.
Here is a complete breakdown of how much money the Michael Jackson Estate has, despite the backlash of the Leaving Neverland documentary.
Michael Jackson's net worth and how much money he is still earning for the Michael Jackson Estate
According to Forbes, Michael Jackson's total career pretax earnings, in life and in death, adjusted for inflation are $4.2 billion. Since his death, Jackson has made $2.1 billion.
In 2016, Jackson earned $825 million, the highest single-year payday ever recorded by a celebrity. Michael was also the highest paid dead celebrity of 2018, making over $400 million, mostly from the sale of his EMI Music Publishing stake.
At the time of his death in June 2009, Michael Jackson was estimated to have a net worth of $500 million (£380 million) according to Celebrity Net Worth. However at this time, he was essentially $500 million in debt due to his luxurious lifestyle. It is said he would would spend between $30 and $50 million per year on his personal life, and had unpaid bills with lawyers and agents.
The lawsuit from The Michael Jackson Estate against HBO for the Leaving Neverland documentary
The Michael Jackson Estate is trying to sue HBO, the original TV station the Leaving Neverland documentary was aired on in the US, for $100 million. The estate claim both James Safechuck and Wade Robson are motivated by money, and the chance to be able to sue. The lawsuit alleges that both men, who previously testified on behalf of Jackson, had changed their stories as they were running out of money.
The lawsuit says: "As you must know, contrary to all norms of documentary filmmaking, the Estate was never contacted by the supposed ‘documentarian’, Dan Reed (or anyone else associated with the programme) to provide the Estate’s view on, and responses to, the absolutely false claims that are the subject matter of the programme.
"Likewise, no one else who might offer evidence to contradict the programme’s premise was consulted either, as Dan Reed has publicly admitted."
HBO respond by saying they were still going to air the documentary and Dan Reed has also defended the doc.
How much does the Michael Jackson Estate make in loyalties?
The Michael Jackson Estate is still bringing in a lot of cash, as his royalties are amounting to around $196 million (£150 million) a year. Dan Reed, director of the Leaving Neverland documentary, told The Sun: "Every time a song plays, a cash register goes 'ker-ching'."
How much did Jackson sell the Neverland Ranch for?
Jackson paid $17.5 million when he bought the Neverland Ranch back in 1988. After his initial trial in 2003, Jackson said he would never live at the property again, as he no longer considered the ranch a home. He never went back. The facilities were closed down, and most of the staff let go.
After Michael Jackson died, it was reported his family wanted to buy the ranch and turn it into a memorial for him, for his fans to visit – similar to Graceland for Elvis Presley. These reports were later denied by the family.
The neglected ranch then fell into disrepair. The amusement rides and animals were gone by 2013, and replaced with a meditative zen garden and a section decorated with Peter Pan. In May 2015, Neverland Ranch was renamed Sycamore Valley Ranch, and was put up for sale with an initial price tag of $100 million, it sold for that amount.
Who gets Michael Jackson's money?
The Last Will and Testament of Michael Jackson was released by TMZ, and states his will "pours over" his estate into the hands of the Trustees of the Michael Jackson Family Trust. What that actually means is unclear, and to truly know who gets Michael Jackson's money you would have to read the 21-page document, which has since been taken down.
According to ABC News, Jackson's money has been divided between his mother Katherine, getting 40 per cent of his assets, his three children, also getting 40 per cent, and several children's charities got the remaining 20 percent.
Jackson's top album to date
Worldwide, Thriller is still the most popular record of all time, with 47 million copies sold. However, in the US, the record has been overtaken by The Eagles Greatest Hits. Up until 2018, Michael Jackson's Thriller was the top selling album of all time in America.