Michael Jackson’s This Is It is a 2009 American documentary–concert film directed by Kenny Ortega that documents Michael Jackson’s rehearsals and preparation for the concert series of the same name scheduled to start on 13 July 2009, but canceled due to his death eighteen days prior on 25 June. It is the last film Jackson starred in. The film consists of Jackson rehearsing musical numbers and directing his team, and additional behind the scenes footage including dancer auditions and costume design. The film’s director Kenny Ortega confirmed that none of this footage was originally intended for release, but after Jackson’s death it was agreed that the film be made. The footage was filmed in California at the Staples Center and The Forum, and features a clip from London’s O2 Arena where Jackson publicly announced the concert series.

Despite originally being set for 30 October, the film’s release date was rescheduled for 28 October 2009, due to a strong demand by Jackson’s fans. The film was given a worldwide release and a limited two-week theatrical run from 28 October, to 12 November 2009, but theatrical release was later extended. Tickets went on sale a month early on 27 September, to satisfy a high anticipated demand; to date, the film has broken numerous records via tickets both pre-sale and sales worldwide.

Since the film’s confirmation, AEG Live has faced criticism; mostly consisting of claims that they had only made the film to make a profit. Multiple members of Jackson’s family had confirmed that they did not support the film and some family members went as far as to try to stop the film agreement in August. The film has also been surrounded by allegations regarding the appearance of body doubles in place of Jackson; which Sony denied, and an outrage from some of Jackson fans; with some going as far as to start a protest against the film. In August 2009, a judge approved a deal between Jackson’s estate, concert promoter AEG Live, and Sony Pictures. The agreement allowed Sony to edit the hundreds of hours of rehearsal footage needed to create the film. Sony subsequently paid $50 million for the film rights.

The film received generally positive reviews from both critics and Jackson fans; the film’s portrayal of Jackson and his performances were generally praised, while criticism mainly consisted of both critics and fans having felt that the film was made just to profit off Jackson’s death and that Jackson wouldn’t have wanted the film released because he was a perfectionist. Despite some fans boycotting the film, and his family not endorsing the movie, the ticket sales for This Is It broke international records a month before its release. Among the cities with the strongest sales were Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston and New York. Records were also set in Japan, where more than $1 million in tickets were sold on the first day they were available. In London, fans bought more than 30,000 tickets on the first day. Record sales were also reported in the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Brazil and New Zealand. In the first opening weekend it grossed $101 million worldwide. The movie sold $32.5 million over its first five days in the U.S. and Canada, and $68.5 million in 97 other countries—making the number one film at the box office and making it the fifth highest-grossing Halloween debut. On its theatrical run, the film’s worldwide revenue gross was in total $261 million and become the highest-grossing concert film of all time.



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