When Michael Jackson died in 2009, the estate belonging to the 50-year-old singer was bankrupt. In the years that followed, however, the estate became a lucrative property, generating billions off album sales, the film “Micheal Jackson’s This Is It” and the Cirque du Soleil show “Michael Jackson: One.”
In 2016, Michael Jackson’s estate made another $750 million when it sold its remaining stake in a music catalog to Sony. The deal gave Sony sole ownership of works recorded by The Beatles, Bob Dylan and other best-selling artists. In 2017, Jackson topped Forbes’ list of top-earning dead celebrities for the fifth year in a row, with $75 million in earnings for the year.
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Michael Jackson Estate Earnings: $1 Billion
The Sony/ATV deal was one of the biggest money makers for the Jackson estate, which was $500 million in debt at the time of the singer’s death. The $750 million buyout of Jackson’s 50 percent stake was a major contribution to the estate’s wealth, but it’s not the only way the singer’s legacy continues to pay off. Other earnings have come from movie sales, album sales, Vegas shows and licensing.
‘Michael Jackson’s This Is It’
Although Jackson’s family initially fought against the posthumous release of the documentary “Michael Jackson’s This Is It,” the film ended up being a huge financial success — and the family took in 87 percent of the total profits. The movie grossed over $300 million at the worldwide box office, and the estate received over $200 million from the box office earnings, DVD sales and TV rights, Billboard reported.
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$200M Sony Recording Deal
In 2010 — less than a year after Jackson’s death — the singer landed the biggest recording deal in history, the Associated Press reported. The Jackson estate signed a seven-year contract with Sony Music Entertainment worth a guaranteed $200 million. The deal called for 10 projects over the years, including a DVD compilation of videos and a re-release of “Off the Wall.”
The most recent release — 2017’s “Scream” — featured iconic songs as well as an augmented reality experience created exclusively for the album.
Michael Jackson: The Immortal Tour
The 2012 “Michael Jackson: The Immortal Tour” with Cirque du Soleil grossed more than $370 million worldwide, making it one of the top-grossing rock tours of all time, Billboard reported. The Jackson estate took in 13 percent of the box office sales.
Michael Jackson: One
The Cirque du Soleil show “Michael Jackson: One” continues to be a permanent fixture at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. The show brings in around $90 million a year, and the Jackson estate earns 10 percent of box office sales, according to Billboard.
EMI Music Publishing Catalog
The Jackson estate owns about 10 percent of the EMI Music Publishing catalog, which includes more than 2 million songs that range from “Over the Rainbow” to Beyoncé hits. It continues to be a source of cash for the musician’s estate.
Michael Jackson King of Pop Slot Machines
In 2016, the Jackson estate renewed a deal with Bally Technologies for the Michael Jackson King of Pop slot machine. The deal extends through 2021, and it had already brought in profits in the eight-figures at the time of the renewal, Billboard reported.
Michael Jackson’s Halloween
In 2017, CBS released the hour-long special, “Michael Jackson’s Halloween,” which featured animated forms of the King of Pop — along with a spider and a pumpkin — set to an MJ soundtrack. The Halloween special contributed to the estate’s earnings for the year.
Michael Jackson Family Members’ Net Worths
Several members of Michael Jackson’s family earn big bucks outside of what the estate earns. Here are the net worths of some of his most well-known family members.
Janet Jackson Net Worth: $175M
Longtime musical icon Janet Jackson had the title made official when she earned the 2018 Billboard Icon Award. Her appearance at the award show in May 2018 marked her first time performing on television in nine years. The singer will be on her “State of the World Tour 2018” throughout July and August.
Paris Jackson Net Worth: $100M
Michael Jackon’s middle child and only daughter Paris Jackson is more than just a celeb kid who inherited a huge estate: She has found her own fame as a high-fashion model. Paris Jackson signed a contract with IMG Models in 2017, and she has since appeared in ad campaigns for major brands including Rag & Bone and Calvin Klein Jeans.
Joe Jackson Net Worth: $500,000
Jackson family patriarch and Jackson 5 creator Joe Jackson died on June 27, 2018 at the age of 89. No official cause of death was released, but it had been previously reported that he was in the final stages of terminal cancer. Sources told TMZ that he had suffered from cancer for some time and that it could not be treated.
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Michael Galvis contributed to the reporting for this article.
Net worths are according to Celebrity Net Worth, unless otherwise stated.