The Most Expensive Music Video That Michael Jackson Ever Made

When honoring music videos, it's hard not to mention Michael Jackson and his iconic back catalog. 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. For that reason, Jackson won the MTV Video Vanguard Award at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1988, later renamed the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. Just only two years later, however, the "You Rock My World" hitmaker was handed over the Artist of the Decade award by the same award show. In 2009, MTV stated the Video Vanguard Award was titled after the deceased icon due to his "groundbreaking work as a video artist."

Jackson was a perfectionist when it came to his work. He boldly stated in a vintage televised clip that he was never satisfied with his work, insisting that he always had more to give: "I don't think I'm ever pleased with my performances. Never." In an interview with Fox News, he expressed that he loved directing his own music videos, describing himself as a "visionary" artist. "That'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 left a big impression on millions of his adoring fans around the world. With that said, which one cost the most to make?

Michael and Janet Jackson's Scream is his most expensive video

What happens when the most iconic siblings in music collaborate? A substantial budget for a legendary music video, that's what. In 1995, Michael Jackson teamed up with his younger sister Janet Jackson to release the aggressive hit, "Scream." If the song wasn't enough to have fans going wild, an iconic music video accompanied the track — and it's gone down in history as MJ's most expensive. As noted by TooFab, "Scream" cost a whopping $7 million to make in the mid-'90s, which is the equivalent to over $12 million in today's climate.

Mark Romanek, who directed "Scream," opened up about making the video. "The reason that video cost such an obscene amount of money was that the record label came to me too late with a hard release date ... and Michael's crazy," he told SlashFilm in 2010. It took a couple of weeks to sort out all the preparations and its budget, followed by 10 days of filming. "That left us two and a half weeks to edit it and do the visual effects," Romanek explained. "So they, not me, had to throw money at it to get it done." Roughly $2 million of the budget was spent on Michael and Janet's assistants, trailers, campers, and security guards alone.

In the end, it all paid off, as "Scream" won the duo three MTV Video Music Awards and a Grammy.

Michael Jackson paid for the whole Scream music video

Being the big brother that he is, Michael Jackson made sure Janet Jackson didn't have to splash out on their expensive "Scream" music video. While breaking down her most iconic looks with Allure, Janet Jackson discussed the making of "Scream" and dished out some interesting details. "It was supposed to only be like a two-day shoot," Janet said before mentioning that she "didn't have to pay for it." In addition to her brother splashing the cash, Janet added, "It was fun getting in 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 and performed "Scream" while Michael appeared in the background on the large screens. The emotional, yet powerful, performance was met with a standing ovation — and it remains a memorable tribute today.