Elvis returns: Florida company Pulse Evolution to bring King back for live shows

Posted at 3:01 AM, Aug 26, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-26 10:24:43-04

PORT ST. LUCIE — Elvis Presley’s famous pelvic thrust and iconic lip curl will be brought back by the same conjurers who awoke Michael Jackson for a holographic TV performance earlier this year.

Pulse Evolution, based in Port St. Lucie, and The Estate of Elvis Presley announced a partnership Monday that will summon the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll for holographic performances in live shows, commercials and more.

Former Digital Domain CEO John Textor, of Hobe Sound, formed Pulse last year, creating the multimillion dollar Michael Jackson illusion with several former Digital Domain employees for the 2014 Billboard Music Awards.

Work on the project already has started in Pulse’s Tradition office, company executives said. The format, concept and venue for the 60- to 90-minute live shows have yet to be determined, but will include contemporary music, Pulse CEO Frank Patterson said. Financial details of the multiyear deal will remain private, he said.

“We’re in the development stage of producing a full-length show that could take 18 to 24 months before anyone sees it,” Patterson said.

“Nothing’s greater than getting the chance to bring Elvis Presley back and have him perform his songs again in a contemporary way to a contemporary audience,” he said.

The Presley estate — still partially owned by Elvis’ family — will decide if the holographic image will resemble a mature Presley with signature sideburns or the youthful, hip-thrusting heartthrob from “Jailhouse Rock,” Patterson said.

Presley died of a drug overdose in 1977 at age 42.

The estate said it hopes The King’s apparition will appeal to the masses.

“For us, working with Pulse is about the opportunity to present Elvis to a new generation of fans who would otherwise never get to see him perform,” Jamie Salter, chairman and CEO of Authentic Brands Group, part owner of the estate, said in a news release. “Our goals for a digitized Elvis are integrity and authenticity, to provide fans with an experience that they love and are proud to be a part of.”

Authentic Brands Group last year bought the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s intellectual property from Core Media Group for an undisclosed amount. Presley’s daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, retains ownership of Graceland.

Authentic Brands also controls the Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali brands.

Performances by Presley will embody the role he played in American history, Patterson said.

“Elvis kind of grew up from 1958-1968,” Patterson said. “So did America. Our United States were involved in a profound change that Elvis Presley was a significant part of. We believe that that’s what people will respond to — the kind of storytelling that is meaningful.”

Pulse has a staff of about 50, most of them working in the same San Francisco office once occupied by “Star Wars” director George Lucas.

The company was established to produce computer-generated humans for entertainment, medical science and education, Textor said.

In April 2012, Textor and Digital Domain made tech history with a digital reproduction of rapper Tupac Shakur as a holographic performer at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music Festival. Five months later, Digital Domain filed for bankruptcy, closing its Tradition studio and leaving the city of Port St. Lucie and the state of Florida on the hook for millions of dollars.

Pulse’s realistic digital image of Jackson sold the Presley estate, Textor said.

“Michael Jackson and the team that we put together was the proof point,” Textor said. “I think the Elvis estate recognized it.”