Michael Jackson movie earns $20 million on 1st day

Thu Oct 29, 2009 3:23pm EDT
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Michael Jackson movie "This Is It" earned $20.1 million at worldwide box offices on its first day in theaters as fans around the globe turned out in strong numbers, Columbia Pictures said on Thursday.

The movie studio said the film, which shows the late pop star rehearsing for a series of comeback concerts before his death in June, made $7.4 million in the United States and Canada, and another $12.7 million internationally.

"The studio believes that the worldwide launch, with very strong performance across North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia, represents an amazing beginning for the film and a reaffirmation of the global appeal of Michael Jackson," Columbia Pictures spokesman Steve Elzer said in a statement.

Finding comparable films to "This Is It" is difficult because of the movie's unusual nature as a hybrid documentary and concert film, as well as the fact that its star was not alive to promote it.

Moreover, "This Is It" premiered on Tuesday night and then began playing around the world on Wednesday, which is unusual for a movie that is not based on a major franchise like the "Harry Potter" or "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.

"It's difficult to make comparisons because there is nothing like this," said Paul Dergarabedian, who runs box office tracker Hollywood.com Box Office.

Among concert films, one top performer recently was 2008's "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour." It enjoyed an opening, three-day weekend of $31 million, starting on a Friday, and went on to earn just over $70.6 million globally during its entire run.

Another recent music movie was 2008's "U2 3D," which earned a total of $16.6 million worldwide during its entire release.   Continued...