The Instigator
SegBeg
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Phenenas
Con (against)
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Should they make a musical based off Michael Jackson songs?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/11/2016 Category: Movies
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 275 times Debate No: 90722
Debate Rounds (3)
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SegBeg

Pro

I think it would be a great idea for them to make a musical based off of Michael Jackson songs. They did it with Mamma Mia (ABBA songs) and We Will Rock You (Queen songs). It would be amazing. Especially since he died it would be a wonderful tribute to him and the great music he contributed to the world that has inspired thousands of artists and those who have yet to be discovered.

My opponent must make very valid points on why they should not make a Michael Jackson musical or I will not be convinced- even if I loose this debate.

Hope someone takes up the offer soon!!!
Phenenas

Con

Thank you, Pro. I will begin my opening argument this round.

It would be impractical to create a Broadway-style stage musical based on the music of Michael Jackson for several reasons, which I will be listing below.

#1.
Michael Jackson's death was in 2009, now seven years ago. In my experience, there are only two reasons a musical is made featuring popular songs: either to increase the popularity of an existing group (ABBA and Queen with the musicals you mentioned, for example) or to honor their music soon after their death (For example, Elvis and Ring of Fire). Too much time has passed since the King of Pop's death for a sizable enough audience to show interest in such a musical.

#2.
In 1988, a film called Moonwalker was released, starring none other than Michael Jackson himself. It was met with mixed reviews by critics, who observed that it was clumsily made, guilty of bad acting and directing, and had basically no plot. Filmed on a decent budget of $22 million [1], the movie was never even released in U.S. theaters due to production problems, and instead came out straight to video. Nowadays, it has faded into obscurity. Getting back to the subject at hand, my point is that a musical was already attempted in cinematic form, and it failed quite badly.

#3.
This, in my opinion, is the clincher. Michael Jackson is simply too controversial of a figure for any production company to risk millions of dollars on his name. His child sex abuse scandals are no secret, and despite the jury's verdict of not guilty, the evidence is overwhelming. Jackson is known to have shared his bed with small boys on hundreds of different occasions, owned books filled with naked pictures of young boys (seized during the 1993 investigation), and he paid off the kids who accused him of molestation with tons of money. [2] We have the detailed accounts of four different boys who claimed to have been sexually abused by Jackson. Personally, I would rather not see a musical that glorifies a disgusting pedophile. MJ was a terrific musician, one of the greatest of our time, but in his personal life, he was a monster. And I don't want that fact to be forgotten.

I will now allow Pro to present her counter-argument in Round 2.

SOURCES:
1. http://www.imdb.com...
2. http://www.mjfacts.com...;
Debate Round No. 1
SegBeg

Pro

Thank you for accepting my debate Con.

First of all, I don't think would be impractical per se to make a musical of Michael Jackson songs.

#1.
"Michael Jackson's death was in 2009, now seven years ago. In my experience, there are only two reasons a musical is made featuring popular songs: either to increase the popularity of an existing group (ABBA and Queen with the musicals you mentioned, for example) or to honor their music soon after their death (For example, Elvis and Ring of Fire). Too much time has passed since the King of Pop's death for a sizable enough audience to show interest in such a musical."

ABBA was already popular before Mamma Mia was made. In fact, they were one of the most popular singing groups of all time. If your claim is true, why would they bother to make a musical with songs that were already so popular before? This is also the case with Queen. Queen are by far one of the most popular singing groups of all time as well, probably more than ABBA even. Their songs would be just as popular with or without We Will Rock You. This is the case with Michael Jackson; musical or no musical he would still be a hit. Also, your case with Michael Jackson's death seven years ago: Freddie Mercury died in 1991, that's 25 years ago and ABBA split in 1982, that's 34 years ago. Mamma Mia made it's debut in 1999 on the West End, 17 years after the split and We Will Rock You made its debut in London in 2002, that's 11 years after Freddie Mercury died. People are more interested than ever in these two musicals. There's nor reason they would be with Michael Jackson.

#2.
"In 1988, a film called Moonwalker was released, starring none other than Michael Jackson himself. It was met with mixed reviews by critics, who observed that it was clumsily made, guilty of bad acting and directing, and had basically no plot. Filmed on a decent budget of $22 million [1], the movie was never even released in U.S. theaters due to production problems, and instead came out straight to video. Nowadays, it has faded into obscurity. Getting back to the subject at hand, my point is that a musical was already attempted in cinematic form, and it failed quite badly."

True but that was 1988, over 27 years ago. There's such thing as a second chance. Maybe the producers of that film did not do what they could have done to make the film good. That is only one movie and that is not a reason to not make a Michael Jackson musical.

#3.
"This, in my opinion, is the clincher. Michael Jackson is simply too controversial of a figure for any production company to risk millions of dollars on his name. His child sex abuse scandals are no secret, and despite the jury's verdict of not guilty, the evidence is overwhelming. Jackson is known to have shared his bed with small boys on hundreds of different occasions, owned books filled with naked pictures of young boys (seized during the 1993 investigation), and he paid off the kids who accused him of molestation with tons of money. [2] We have the detailed accounts of four different boys who claimed to have been sexually abused by Jackson. Personally, I would rather not see a musical that glorifies a disgusting pedophile. MJ was a terrific musician, one of the greatest of our time, but in his personal life, he was a monster. And I don't want that fact to be forgotten."

Most of the allegations are utter nonsense. I agree that Michael Jackson was a bit inappropriate at times, so what? He was a fantastic artist who made great songs. The musical would not be focusing on his life. Mamma Mia does not focus of ABBA's life and We Will Rock You does not focus on Queen's life. In fact their lives are completely irrelevant. The only thing that both bands contributed were the songs. We must not always focus on the artist but rather the songs. I'm not a fan of One Direction but some of their songs are great. I'm not a fan of Beyonce but some of her songs are amazing and her voice is flawless. The same is with Michael Jackson. I'm not a fan but his songs are too dumbfounding to go to waste. Michael Jackson's life does not matter in the musical. The musical can be something completely different and make it about someone else. Mamma Mia was about a girl who dreams of her father walking her down the aisle on her wedding day despite she does not know who her father is: this has nothing to do with the life of ABBA. We Will Rock You is about a dystopian future where music is forbidden: it has nothing to do with the life of Queen. The same can be with a Michael Jackson musical; make it about something completely different and the only MJ thing are the songs.

I have completed by argument for this round. I look forward to Con stating reason around what I have just said.
Phenenas

Con

"ABBA was already popular before Mamma Mia was made. In fact, they were one of the most popular singing groups of all time. If your claim is true, why would they bother to make a musical with songs that were already so popular before?"

All four members of ABBA were living at the time Mamma Mia came out, and all are currently pursuing their own solo careers. Queen is still a band as well, obviously not as great since Mercury's death, but the surviving members reunite every now and then. My point is that the members of these bands were active at the time of their respective musicals, so there was still some interest in their work. Queen often performs live at productions of We Will Rock You, most recently in 2014 [1], and music for the Mamma Mia movie was composed by Benny Andersson.

My point is that because Michael Jackson is gone, there is little chance for a resurgence of interest in his musical career. Especially with the controversy that surrounds his personal life.

"True but that was 1988, over 27 years ago. There's such thing as a second chance. Maybe the producers of that film did not do what they could have done to make the film good. That is only one movie and that is not a reason to not make a Michael Jackson musical."

I highly doubt that a "second chance" would be practical, given that Jackson was at the height of his popularity by the time the film came out. The year before it was released, five of Jackson's songs ("I Just Can't Stop Loving You", "Bad", "The Way You Make Me Feel", "Man in the Mirror", and "Dirty Diana") were all on the Billboard Hot 100 [2]. His popularity has been on a steady downward climb since then. If a film featuring the King of Pop's songs failed back at the zenith of his career, why would a film or musical do any better when he's been dead for years?

"Most of the allegations are utter nonsense."

I would like Pro to elaborate on this. I see no reason to doubt the allegations, and it seems fairly clear to me that Jackson was guilty of sexually abusing young boys.

"I agree that Michael Jackson was a bit inappropriate at times, so what? He was a fantastic artist who made great songs. The musical would not be focusing on his life."

"A bit inappropriate" is quite an understatement, but I'll look past this. I wasn't assuming that the musical would have to be about Michael's bad habit of molestation, but now that everyone has known about the controversy for years, they can't help but associate it with his music. I'm only saying that the controversy had a bad effect on his popularity, and thus would make a musical unlikely to be a success.

SOURCES:
1. https://en.wikipedia.org...(musical)#2014
2. http://www.billboard.com...;
Debate Round No. 2
SegBeg

Pro

All four members of ABBA were living at the time Mamma Mia came out, and all are currently pursuing their own solo careers."
True but I was not talking about their life status. I was talking about their splitting up which was a LONG time ago- even at the time Mamma Mia came out. However today, millions of people across the globe LOVE the musical.

"...and all are currently pursuing their own solo careers."
Really? I haven't heard from any of them. That's because what made them famous in the first place was them being in a GROUP!

"Queen is still a band as well, obviously not as great since Mercury's death, but the surviving members reunite every now and then."
True but like you said, Queen has not been the same nor as good since Mercury died- 24 years ago, but this did not stop them from making a musical with his songs. The Queen now is not the Queen it once was and without Freddie Mercury, I can't really regard them a Queen as much.

"My point is that the members of these bands were active at the time of their respective musicals..."

ABBA split up in 1982. Mamma Mia came out on the West End in 1999- seventeen years apart. The members of the band have kept quite a low profile since the break up. It is almost like the are unheard of these days.

"...so there was still some interest in their work."

Actually, shortly before ABBA disbanded, their music greatly declined. They were not as popular as they once were.

"My point is that because Michael Jackson is gone, there is little chance for a resurgence of interest in his musical career. Especially with the controversy that surrounds his personal life."

To hell with Michael Jackson's controversial life. I don't give a damn about Michael Jackson himself. I'm only suggesting to use his SONGS for the musical. NOT any of his personal life. The only thing that he will contribute are his songs and nothing more. People love Michael Jackson because of his MUSIC- not because of his personal life.

When I commented about giving a Michael Jackson production another chance you specifically said:
"I highly doubt that a "second chance" would be practical..."

Why wouldn't it be practical? They rebooted Star Wars in 2002 and it did not do so well... so they gave it a third chance last year and look at what has become of it- it is third highest grossing film of all time behind Avatar and Titanic.

"If a film featuring the King of Pop's songs failed back at the zenith of his career, why would a film or musical do any better when he's been dead for years?"

Why did they make Mamma Mia at a time when ABBA was no more? Why did they not make it at the "zenith" of their career? Also, Moonwalker is about Michael Jackson himself. A musical would not have to be about Michael Jackson himself but about something completely different. The reason Moonwalker received mixed reviews is because the critics felt that it was a series of music tied together and like you said, there was no plot, well why can't the writers of a Jackson musical LEARN from this? Isn't that what we are supposed to do? LEARN from our mistakes. We don't repeat them again? However, the music was praised. In a musical, the only thing that will be of Michael Jackson are his songs. The negative reviews are about the plot and structure of the film. The music gained positive reviews.

"Most of the allegations are utter nonsense."

I would like Pro to elaborate on this. I see no reason to doubt the allegations, and it seems fairly clear to me that Jackson was guilty of sexually abusing young boys.

Okay, I am not saying that these allegations about Jackson molesting young boys are entirely wrong. They could very well be true, but we cannot know for sure now. Also, why is there any reason NOT to believe it? Just because somebody said someone did something doesn't make it true. Donald Trump has accused Obama's birth certificate of being illegitimate as well as other American citizens, but he has shown us proof that it is 100% legitimate (unless you're one of those people who still deny it).

"I wasn't assuming that the musical would have to be about Michael's bad habit of molestation, but now that everyone has known about the controversy for years, they can't help but associate it with his music. I'm only saying that the controversy had a bad effect on his popularity, and thus would make a musical unlikely to be a success."

And I didn't say that even if they were to make the musical about Michael Jackson himself that it would have to involve his alleged molestation times.

Funny. When I think of Michael Jackson, I think a red jacket and a white glove. Not once have I thought of his sex scandals. His music career covers all of that up. I'm not justifying his alleged sexual abuse, if they are indeed true, it is nowhere near excusable nor acceptable. But sometimes you have got to stop clinging to the past as you are doing right now. Michael Jackson MIGHT well have been an abuser of children but I hardly believe anyone would think of any of that nonsense if they saw his songs performed in an epic musical. In fact, I did not even know of these scandals before you even mentioned them. You know why? because it is either they were FALSE accusations that never happened or they simply did not damage his career enough for him to earn the title the, "King of Pop."

Barely anyone I talk to brings up Michael Jackson's "molestation" habits. Before we sing his songs, we don't go. "I don't feel like singing Michael Jackson because he was a child abuser." No we love Michael Jackson because he made the best songs ever, not because of what happened backstage. You in particular just need to forget about all that and focus on the artist's SONGS and not the artist.
Phenenas

Con

I am not saying that ABBA and Queen were active bands at the time their respective musicals were being produced, but their members definitely helped to create them. Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson were both heavily involved in the making of Mamma Mia, even performing live at least once [1]. Ben Elton worked closely with Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor to incorporate their songs into the dystopian story. Jackson's music is now owned by the production company Sony/ATV Music Publishing, and companies tend to be a lot more protective of their intellectual property than artists, because CEOs think in terms of money, not art. And for reasons I have already listed, a Jackson-based musical may be liable to lose money.

"Why wouldn't it be practical? They rebooted Star Wars in 2002 and it did not do so well... so they gave it a third chance last year and look at what has become of it- it is third highest grossing film of all time behind Avatar and Titanic."

There are some flaws with your comparison here. The reason Star Wars was rebooted was because the trilogy did astoundingly well at the box office and was a pop cultural phenomenon. But the prequels also did well, even though most of the critics (and myself) hate them. Phantom Menace grossed over $400 million in theaters alone, breaking many box office records in its debut. Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, while not as successful, still made a huge profit [2]. Because Star Wars is so beloved and still able to make money, it only makes sense to film a new one.

Moonwalker, however, was not a success at all. If you believe that Michael Jackson's music is great enough to deserve a second chance, that's fine. But the studios will learn from history, and won't risk their money on pure faith that they have "learned from their mistakes".

"Why did they make Mamma Mia at a time when ABBA was no more? Why did they not make it at the "zenith" of their career?"

The answer is simple: because the members of ABBA were so busy with their careers that they didn't have the time to work on a musical.

"Okay, I am not saying that these allegations about Jackson molesting young boys are entirely wrong. They could very well be true, but we cannot know for sure now. Also, why is there any reason NOT to believe it? Just because somebody said someone did something doesn't make it true. Donald Trump has accused Obama's birth certificate of being illegitimate as well as other American citizens, but he has shown us proof that it is 100% legitimate (unless you're one of those people who still deny it)."

The allegations are very much true. I don't understand your comparison, because we have detailed testimony from multiple people - four men who were molested by Jackson as children [3]. Four grown adults who have no reason to lie about something like this, unlike manipulative, mud-slinging, demagogue politicians who are almost obligated to lie to ruin their opponents' reputations. Michael Jackson abused little boys, and that is as sure as the legitimacy of Obama's birth certificate.

"To hell with Michael Jackson's controversial life. I don't give a damn about Michael Jackson himself. I'm only suggesting to use his SONGS for the musical. NOT any of his personal life. The only thing that he will contribute are his songs and nothing more. People love Michael Jackson because of his MUSIC- not because of his personal life."

This is where Pro and I differ irreconcilably. Pro wishes to focus on the King of Pop's musical and artistic talent, but I and many others believe that the well-being of children is far more important than any contribution, no matter how great, to the world of pop songs. After all, Michael Jackson's fame and popularity were the very reasons he was able to escape jail time. Fans simply couldn't believe that this cultural icon was capable of such crimes. If you think that people should pay attention to the songs rather than the man, that's fine. But this simply isn't the case in reality; whenever a Michael Jackson song is heard, many people can't help but think back to his heinous sex scandal.

"When I think of Michael Jackson, I think a red jacket and a white glove. Not once have I thought of his sex scandals. His music career covers all of that up." (emphasis mine)

According to Pro, the disgusting acts committed by Jackson are "covered up" by his musical career. As if to suggest that it doesn't matter if you're a pedophile so long as you're famous and talented. I'm sure this questionable wording wasn't intentional on Pro's part, but it raises an eyebrow.

"In fact, I did not even know of these scandals before you even mentioned them. You know why? because it is either they were FALSE accusations that never happened or they simply did not damage his career enough for him to earn the title the, 'King of Pop.'"

The reason many diehard fans of Michael Jackson have a hard time believing the allegations (in spite of the overwhelming evidence) is because they had followed the star's personal life and thought they knew him. When it was revealed that the King of Pop was actually a horrible, despicable human being, many were shocked and hurt, because Jackson was a role model to many. I'm surprised you haven't heard about the scandals, though, because they were a very big issue for a while. Jackson's best days were already behind him when the brave boy Jordan Chandler came forth exposing his sexual abuse, and his career was then already on the decline. None of that really matters to me though, because in the end, I am one of many people who would find it deeply disturbing to glorify a pedophile's work.

In summary, I think creating a musical featuring Michael Jackson's songs would be impractical because the man is dead and not around to help with production, and one attempt to create a movie based on Jackson's music already failed. I also presented evidence that Michael Jackson sexually abused at least four children. Pro, while skeptical of the evidence, claimed that even if Jackson was guilty (which he is), then fans should focus on his music rather than his personal life. My opinion is quite disparate from Pro's, because I believe that a musical would only glorify Jackson's name in spite of his monstrous actions. I thank Pro for an enjoyable debate, and wish her luck in the voting rounds.

SOURCES:
1. http://www.broadwayworld.com...;
2. http://www.boxofficemojo.com...;
3. http://www.mjfacts.com...;
Debate Round No. 3
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