Leaving Neverland, the controversial Michael Jackson documentary, officially has a premiere date on HBO.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the documentary film will air in two-parts, with the first debuting on Sunday, March 3 and the second airing the following day, Monday, March 4.
The outlet's chief television critic Daniel Fienberg also reviewed the documentary, which he described as "a harrowing sit that feels both long and admirably thorough," then saying "it's doubtful you'll feel exactly the same after watching four hours of Leaving Neverland."
Jackson's family and estate have been highly critical of the documentary — which explores the many years of child sexual abuse claims against the singer — calling into question the validity of its information, and labeling it "a tabloid character assassination."
"The film takes uncorroborated allegations that supposedly happened 20 years ago and treats them as fact," the statement read in part, as shared by THR. "Michael always turned the other cheek, and we have always turned the other cheek when people have gone after members of our family — that is the Jackson way. But we can't just stand by while this public lynching goes on. … Michael is not here to defend himself, otherwise these allegations would not have been made."
In response, the film's director Dan Reed, stated that he understands the estate's issues with the film because "They have a very precious asset to protect. Every time a song plays, a cash register goes 'ka-ching.' It doesn't surprise me that they've come out fighting in defense of their asset."
"It is a four-hour documentary by an experienced documentarian with a long track record in investigation and telling complex stories and this is a complex story. So I'd say it's beyond doubt a documentary. Anyone with any knowledge of that form would recognize a documentary," he added.0comments
"A four-hour piece, is that a tabloid? I didn't characterize Jackson at all in the film — I think if you watch it you'll have noticed that it's a story about these two families and Jackson is an element of that story. But I don't seek to characterize him at all. I don't comment on Jackson. It's not a film about Michael. ... The film itself is an account of sexual abuse, how sexual abuse happens and then how the consequences play out later in life," Reed went on to say.
Fans will get the opportunity to decide for themselves how they feel about the contents of the documentary when Leaving Neverland airs in March.