When it comes to honoring music videos, it’s hard not to mention Michael Jackson and his legendary back catalogue. After all, they don’t call him the “King of Pop” for nothing.
Of course there is “Thriller”, but also “Smooth Criminal”, “Billie Jean”, “Remember the Time”, “Bad” and “Black or White”. Honestly, the list goes on. Because of this, Jackson won the MTV Video Vanguard Award at the 1988 MTV Video Music Awards, later renamed the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. Just two years later, however, the “You Rock My World” hitmaker was presented with the Artist of the Decade award by the same awards show. In 2009, MTV stated that the Video Vanguard Award was named after the late icon because of his “pioneering work as a video artist.”
Jackson was a perfectionist when it came to his work. He boldly declared in an old TV clip that he was never satisfied with his work and insisted that he always had more to give: “I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied with my accomplishments. Never.” In an interview with Fox News, he expressed that he loved directing his own music videos and described himself as a “visionary” artist. “It’s what drives me, it’s the medium, the art. I love it. And that’s the world I’m most comfortable in,” he continued with a smile.
Jackson’s music and videos have made a huge impression on millions of his devoted fans around the world. That being said, which one costs the most to manufacture?
Michael and Janet Jackson’s Scream is his most expensive video
What happens when music’s most famous siblings work together? A sizable budget for an iconic music video, that’s what. In 1995, Michael Jackson teamed up with his younger sister, Janet Jackson, to release the aggressive hit “Scream.” As if the song wasn’t enough to get fans going wild, the track was accompanied by an iconic music video – and it’s gone down in history as MJ’s most expensive. As TooFab noted, “Scream” cost a whopping $7 million to make in the mid-’90s, which equates to over $12 million in today’s climate.
Mark Romanek, who directed “Scream,” spoke openly about the making of the video. “The reason the video cost so much money was because the record label came to me late with a hard release date … and Michael’s crazy,” he told SlashFilm in 2010. It took a couple of weeks to close clarify all the preparations and the budget, followed by 10 days of shooting. “That gave us two and a half weeks for editing and visual effects,” explains Romanek. “So they, not me, had to throw money at it to get it done.” About $2 million of the budget was spent on Michael and Janet’s assistants, trailers, RVs and security guards alone.
It all paid off in the end, as the duo won three MTV Video Music Awards and a Grammy for “Scream.”
Michael Jackson paid for the entire Scream music video
As the big brother that he is, Michael Jackson made sure Janet Jackson didn’t have to spend on her expensive “Scream” music video. As Janet Jackson broke down her most iconic looks with curls, she spoke about the making of “Scream” and shared some interesting details. “It was just going to be a two-day shoot,” Janet said, before mentioning that she “didn’t have to pay for it.” In addition to her brother splashing the money, Janet added, “It was fun going into the studio and dancing together because we hadn’t done that since I was a kid.” The singer also mentioned that it was director Mark Romanek’s idea to shoot in black and white.
When Michael died in 2009, Janet returned to the MTV Video Music Awards stage to pay tribute to her older sibling. After a series of dancers performed choreography to Michael’s “Smooth Criminal,” Janet made a surprise appearance performing “Scream” while Michael performed in the background on the big screens. The emotional but powerful performance was met with a standing ovation – and it remains a memorable tribute to this day.