LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - The companion soundtrack to Michael Jackson's worldwide No. 1 movie claimed the top spot on the U.S. pop albums chart Wednesday with the fifth-best sales week this year.
"This Is It" sold 373,000 copies during the week ended November 1, according to Nielsen SoundScan, exceeding expectations of an opening in the 300,000 and 350,000 range.
It marks Jackson's sixth No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and it arrives with his best sales week for an album since 1995's "HIStory" opened at No. 1 with 391,000 copies.
Jackson collected his first No. 1 with "Thriller" in 1983 and later notched toppers with "Bad," "Dangerous," "HIStory" and "Invincible." His 2003 greatest hits set "Number Ones" is the biggest seller in the United States this year.
The "This Is It" film, which consists of rehearsal footage for a planned residency in London, earned $104 million during its first weekend of worldwide release.
Elsewhere on the Billboard 200, reunited rockers Creed debuted at No. 2 with "Full Circle," which sold 110,000 copies. It's the band's first studio release since 2001, when "Weathered" started at No. 1 with 887,000 copies.
Taylor Swift's "Fearless" soared four places to No. 3 with 109,000 copies. The set was reissued in a "platinum" deluxe edition last week, with additional bonus tracks and a DVD.
Rod Stewart's latest covers set, "Soulbook," debuted at No. 4 with 84,000 copies. His previous release, "Still the Same ... Great American Rock Classics of Our Time," debuted at No. 1 in 2006 with 184,304 copies.
New holiday-themed releases claimed the next two spots: Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Night Castle" at No. 5 with 83,000 copies, and Sting's "If On A Winter's Night" at No. 6 with 80,000 copies.
Last week's No. 1, "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" soundtrack, fell to No. 8 with 69,000 copies. Michael Buble's former chart-topper "Crazy Love" dropped four to No. 7 with 71,000. Tim McGraw's "Southern Voice," slid seven to No. 9 with 59,000 in its second week, and Jay-Z's "The Blueprint 3" was down six to No. 10 with 41,000.
Overall album sales rose 10% from last week to 6.31 million units, but were down 9% from the year-ago period. Year-to-date album sales stand at 287.6 million, down 13% compared to the same total at this point last year.
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