Michael Jackson's money troubles are no secret. Amid foreclosure rumors on Neverland, and secret deals that he'll have to sell the Beatles catalog to pay his lenders, Jackson's years of spending have caught up to him. But he'll do anything to make you think otherwise, including renting a $100,000 a month mansion in L.A. to keep up appearances.
After having tried to block an auction of his valuables for years, an April auction will sell off over 2,000 of his personal effects, including costumes, artwork, and Neverland memorabilia. If you've got some cash to burn, you could pick up some crystal-studded socks, valued at $600-$800, a golf cart with MJ as Peter Pan painted on the hood for $4,000-$6,000, or the big ticket item, a one-of-a-kind Rolls Royce limousine, custom designed by Jackson for $140,000-$160,000. Yesterday, Jackson filed a lawsuit against Julien auction house, claiming the sale illegal, but the auctioneers maintain that Jackson was apprised of everything before the sale.
But not even the sale of thousands of his personal items will get him out of the red it seems. Today it was announced what was once the unthinkable for the King of Pop: He's going to have to start working again.
He gave what is perhaps the briefest press conference ever, as the major news networks tried to piece together his ramblings into a clip. The conference held at London's O2 Arena, was full of hundreds of screaming fans taking photos of the King. He basically read what the banner said, "Michael Jackson, this is it." We can gather that "This is It" is the name of the tour. The ten shows start the second week of July at the O2 Arena, and you can register on his website to participate in the pre-sale.
The O2 holds 20,000 people, making Jackson's 10-date tour capable of producing some serious big bucks. It will undoubtedly sell out, as superfans from around the world will fight to see what may be his last performance, even if the 50-year-old star might not be in top mental or physical health to perform. British bookmakers are already taking bets on whether or not Jackson will actually perform, or if so, how many shows he'll complete. Tickets will sell for $72-$105, and combined with merchandise, that's well over $20 million. Stadium tours are where most artists make their real money. Indeed, Britney Spears is slated to play the O2 for eight nights in June.
Jackson's last major show was in 2001 with the studio release of Invincible. His last world tour, HIStory, earned $178 million in 1996-7. He's vowed to stop performing in the past, largely because of the negative press that follows his virtually every move. If Jackson succeeds in a final tour for his fans, mimicking his 80s tours, without creating any new hits, it'll be a testament to his genius and career. But if he really wants a comeback, he's going to have to release a new track or two. Meanwhile, we'd like to give Jackson a simple lesson on money from our friends at SNL: Don't buy stuff you cannot afford.
Celebs & Money: King of Pop must don the Glove, moonwalk back to work