‘This Is’ Biggest Concert Film Ever
A vision of pop's past was too much for the apparitions of "Paranormal Activity."
"Michael Jackson's This Is It," the backstage documentary filmed before the star's death in June, became the highest-grossing concert film worldwide with $21.3 million for the weekend, lifting its five-day total to $32.5 million in the U.S. and $68.5 million internationally, according to studio estimates from Nielsen.
The $101 million total eclipses the record set by "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour," which earned $70.6 million worldwide last year.
Sony Pictures, which released the film and initially said the movie would play for two weeks, announced Sunday it would play through the Thanksgiving weekend. Sony's "$60 million to acquire rights was money well spent," says Paul Dergarabedian of Hollywood.com.
Unlike Cyrus' movie, which made just $5.4 million overseas, "This Is It" stands to be a juggernaut there, where Jackson's star never came under the glare it did in the U.S.
And considering the film was a concert movie without the concert, "This Is It" earned strong reviews from critics, who praised its personal glimpse into the reclusive singer's world. The picture earned recommendations from 80 percent of reviewers, according to RottenTomatoes.com.
"This is a rare glimpse into a genius's work," says Sony's Rory Bruer.
Not that "Paranormal" has anything to be ashamed of. On Thursday the film became, at least technically, the most profitable film ever. It surpassed the $60,000 "The Blair Witch Project," which delivered $248.6 million worldwide, or a 414,213 percent return on investment.
"Paranormal," meanwhile, was shot for a reported $15,000, meaning its midweek haul of $65.1 million pushed it past "Witch" with a 433,900 percent investment return.
"I think this shows you don't need gore and body parts and huge budgets to make an effective horror movie," says Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore.
The Jamie Foxx thriller "Law Abiding Citizen" was third with $7.3 million. The comedy "Couples Retreat" was fourth with $6.9 million, followed by "Saw VI," which dropped to fifth place and $5.6 million.
Ticket sales were up 7 percent over the same weekend last year. Final figures are due Monday.