Five years after his death, the late and great King of Pop Michael Jackson continues to bring in profits, topping Forbes' annual Top-Earning Dead Celebrities list for the second year in a row raking in $140 million - but with Elvis Presley still holding second place.
Forbes determined this year's rankings which ranks deceased celebrities who grossed the most hard cash in the prior year to come up with an estimate of what each artist’s estate made between October 2013 and October 2014.
As last year, Jackson is followed by Elvis Presley whose estate raked in $55 million in the past 12 months. Peanuts illustrator Charles Schulz brought in $40 million. The report notes that much of the newly amassed wealth stems from several factors, including outside parties managing the artists licensing and merchandise after buying their intellectual property rights, attractions like Elvis' Graceland mansion, and the long lasting franchises like Peanuts, which is in production for a 3-D flick, due in 2015.
This year's report has hardly changed from last year's list, which also had Jackson as the top earner, followed by Presley and Schulz. Other top-earners are actor Steve McQueen, Bruce Lee, model and pinup pioneer Bettie Page and actor James Dean.
Jackson earnings were boosted this year by a highly publicised (but ultimately disappointing) hologram appearance at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards plus a new album Xscape which despite the publicity did not make number one.
Elvis, the King of Rock 'n' Roll, may again have taken a back seat to the King of Pop but Elvis' estate is still earning steadily thanks to his eternally popular image, the internationally touring video-concerts and the stream of revenue from Graceland. Elvis' international earnings were boosted last year with his Platinum-selling UK Number 1 'The Nation's Favourite Elvis Song'. And with new owners ABG changing the marketing-base and with the talk next year of an Elvis hologram things will change - possibly for good or bad.
Top five Forbes magazine Top Earning Dead Celebrities 2014.
1. Michael Jackson $140 million
2. Elvis Presley $55 million
3. Charles Schulz $40 million
4. Elizabeth Taylor $25 million
5. Bob Marley $20 million