This Is It? Hardly.
Sony announced today that the Michael Jackson concert movie, originally billed as a two-week-only event, will stay in theaters through Thanksgiving weekend.
The non-surprise move comes after This Is It led the box office competition with an estimated $21.3 million Friday-Sunday, and upped its five-day worldwide haul to $101 million.
For starters, Jackson's This Is It barely came within $10 million of matching Cyrus' Hannah Montana concert movie's opening weekend record ($31.1 million). Best of Both Worlds, which opened on a Friday, unlike the Wednesday-debuting This Is It, also made more money in its first five days than This Is It: $37.3 million versus $32.5 million.
Domestically. Internationally was another story.
As a draw, Jackson is like James Bond, bigger overseas than he is in the United States. And sure enough, two-thirds of This Is It's eye-popping worldwide gross came from the rest of the world, led by the Jackson-friendly environs of Japan, the United Kingdom and Germany.
According to Sony, the film's $101 million take is already a new worldwide record for a concert movie. This Is It cleared the old record, held by Best of Both Worlds, natch, by nearly $30 million—and counting.
Paranormal Activity (second place, $16.5 million), meanwhile, was the weekend's top-grossing non-Michael Jackson movie. Adding to its legend, the thriller actually made more money per theater than This Is It.
Overall, the no-budget wonder has now grossed $84.8 million.
• Halloween pulled a trick on Saw VI (fifth place, $5.6 million; $22.8 million overall), which saw ticket sales fall 61 percent from last weekend.
• Hilary Swank's Amelia (ninth place, $3 million; $8.3 million overall) sputtered into the Top 10 thanks to the departure of two relative old-timers, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs ($118.6 million overall) and Zombieland ($71.2 million overall), and a dearth of new arrivals.
• In limited release, The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day ($525,000) was, theater for theater, bigger than Paranormal Activity and This Is It; Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess' Gentlemen Broncos ($10,006) was, theater for theater, bigger than all but those two Top 10 hits.
Here's a look at the weekend's top-grossing films based on Friday-Sunday estimates as compiled by Exhibitor Relations:
(Originally published Nov. 1, 2009, at 9:15 a.m. PT)
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