For Jackson Fans Worldwide, the Wait Is Over

“This Is It” finally arrives, with simultaneous screenings in 15 cities worldwide.

Last Updated: October 27, 2009 @ 6:14 PM

Soon, the whole world — literally — will be able to finally see for themselves what shape Michael Jackson was in and how prepared he was for a 50-concert stand at London’s 02 arena.

"This Is It," Jackson’s final performance, debuts with a simultaneous global screening in 15 cities across the globe Tuesday night. It will reward fans who camped out in line for tickets last month with a first look at the film — and in some cities, a mostly sleepless night.
Anchoring the all-at-once worldwide debut is the Regal Cinema’s new Stadium 14 in downtown Los Angeles, where fans stood in line for up to three days last month for tickets to the first showings, which will christen the new mulitplex at LA Live.
At the same time as Tuesday evening’s red-carpet world premiere, the 15 special screenings will take place simultaneously in cities including London, New York, Berlin and Seoul. The arrivals line event in Los Angeles will be simulcast at 11 of the other locations, and an additional 18 cities will also hold premieres that are not synched with the event.
While the King of Pop chose the U.K. for his planned concert bonanza, Brits who scored premiere tickets won’t get their first look at the film until the wee hours of Wednesday morning, local time.
Immediately following these screenings, public showings of the film begin at midnight on the East Coast.
The documentary of Jackson’s final rehearsals before his June 25 death then will be released in more than 3,400 North American venues.
With more than 18,000 prints issued worldwide, the movie generated 1,600 sold-out screenings in its limited two-week run.
In fact, "This Is It" will follow Disney’s limited-release plan for "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: The Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour." Screenings for that film were originally limited to a two-week window, which in part drove demand to the tune of a $65.3 million domestic box office take, making it the biggest concert film ever.
The Jackson film, though, looks likely to best that figure, with some estimates of a $100 million haul before the two weeks is up. And as Disney did with "Hannah Montana," Sony could choose to expand the run for "This Is It" if the box office remains strong throughout its run.
Early signs are that sales will be brisk — Fandango reports that "This Is It" is the No. 1 title this year in pre-sales.
At least one Jackson fan apparently has already had a sneak peek at "This Is It" — and she liked it. In fact, Elizabeth Taylor liked it so much that she fired off 19 gushing tweets about the film and its subject Monday, calling it "the single most brilliant piece of filmmaking I have ever seen."
"You owe it to yourselves and your loved ones to see this again and again," she wrote. "Memorize it and say to yourselves, ‘I saw genius in my lifetime.’"
Sony has not announced a release date for the DVD, which is not expected until next year.