The word from AEG Live and the O2 is that the production is so doggoned big, they need to move the July 8 opener to July 13, and switch July 10, 12 and 14 to March 2010.

According to a statement posted on Ticketmaster:

“Due to the sheer magnitude of the ‘This Is It’ concerts at the O2 Arena promoters and producers AEG Live and Kenny Ortega, Michael’s directorial partner and creative collaborator have elected to move back a few of the opening shows in order to meet the challenges presented by such a massive and technically complex show.

“Organisers are determined that all Michael’s legions of fans attending the opening nights get the same quality of staging and level of entertainment.”

Along with moving the July 8 opener to July 13, other dates originally planned to occur during Jackson’s first week at the O2 have now been switched to March of next year. July 10 is now scheduled for March 1; July 12 will take place on March 3 and July 14 is now slotted for March 6.

“Kenny and Michael are, at the same time, both creative pioneers and perfectionists. This show has grown in size and scope, thereby, necessitating more lead time for manufacture of the set, programming the content for the massive video elements, and, most importantly, more time for full production and dress rehearsals in the world’s busiest arena, the O2. As much as we agonized over this change in the original schedule, we are sure the fans will understand when they experience the level of entertainment Michael Jackson intends to deliver while also ensuring the safety of the musicians, cast and crew and the crisp execution of the production. It is AEG Live’s sincere hope that those lucky enough to have purchased tickets will have enough time to change their personal schedules and travel plans if they are coming from outside of London. We do not want anyone to miss this once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Click here to read the entire statement, including frequently asked questions about Jackson’s O2 residency.