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Michael Jackson's This Is It

Michael Jackson's This Is ItDirected by   Kenny Ortega, Michael Jackson (stage actions)
Produced by   Paul Gongaware, Randy Phillips
Cinematography   Kevin Mazur
Studio   AEG Live, Sony Music, The Michael Jackson Company, LLC
Distributed by   Columbia Pictures
Release date(s)   North America: October 28, 2009
Australia: October 28, 2009
United Kingdom: October 28, 2009
South America: October 30, 2009
Running time   112 minutes
Country   United States
Language   English
Budget   $60 million
Gross revenue   $261,171,679

Michael Jackson's This Is It is a 2009 American concert film documenting Michael Jackson's rehearsals of the concert series of the same name, both on stage and behind the scenes. The film shows Jackson mentoring his team for the 50 shows, as well as him creating, developing, and ultimately staging the high-tech performances. The footage was filmed at The Forum and the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Despite originally being set for an October 30, 2009 release date, the film's release date was rescheduled for October 28, 2009, with a limited two-week run. Tickets went on sale a month early on September 27, 2009, to satisfy a high anticipated demand.

On August 10, 2009, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff approved a deal between Michael Jackson's estate, concert promoter AEG Live, and Sony Pictures. This allowed Sony Pictures to edit the hundreds of hours of rehearsal footage needed to create the motion picture. Sony subsequently paid $60 million for the film rights. The trailer first premiered during the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards on September 13, 2009, along with the simultaneous launching of the official movie website.

The film's tour director Kenny Ortega released the following statement regarding the film:
The footage that was captured from the early stages of the production to our technical rehearsals at the STAPLES Center in L.A. will show Michael as he truly was, creatively involved with every aspect of the production, from the staging and choreography, to the music, lighting, production design and conception of the original short films and video backdrops. This Is It was Michael's last theatrical work and although it was still a work in progress, I think the footage will show that the process was something that Michael deeply enjoyed.

The concerts
O2 Arena On March 5, 2009 at the O2 Arena, Jackson announced that he was to perform 10 concert performances as part of a comeback. Jackson suggested possible post-show retirement: "I just wanted to say that these will be my final show performances in London. When I say this is it, it really means this is it." On March 11, two days before pre-sale began, an extra 40 dates, totaling to 50 tour dates, were added to meet high demand—five of these dates were reserved in their entirety for the public sale. Jackson's 50 dates would make the concerts the longest residency at the arena. In May, 2009, the tour was originally set to have begun on July 8, 2009, and finished on March 6, 2010. On May 20, 2009, it was announced that the first concert would be pushed back by five days to July 13, and three other July dates would be rescheduled for March, 2010. AEG Live stated that the delay was necessary because more time was needed to prepare, mainly for dress rehearsals. The revised schedule called for 27 shows between July 13, and September 29, 2009, followed by a three month break, and resuming in 2010, with 23 more shows between January 7, and March 6, 2010. The This Is It concert tour would have been Jackson's first major performances and series of concerts since the HIStory World Tour that began in 1996 and finished in 1997. In preparation for the concerts, Jackson had been collaborating with multiple well known and high profile figures, such as clothing designer Christian Audigier, who would have served as the tours costume's designer; Kenny Ortega, who would have served as his choreographer;, Rushka Bergman, who would have served as his personal stylist and creative consultant, and body builder Lou Ferrigno, who would have served as his personal trainer. On June 29, 2009, only days after Jackson's death, AEG Live, the concert's promoter, offered ticket holders two choices - to either get refunded all the money spent of their ticket(s) or to keep the ticket(s) as a 'souvenir' and 'memento' by receiving the printed ticket that Jackson had 'supposedly' designed himself.

Jackson's death
Jackson's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame The death of Jackson occurred after he suffered cardiac arrest at his home in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, California on June 25, 2009. He was treated by paramedics at the scene, but was pronounced dead at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. His personal physician, Conrad Murray, stated that he had found Jackson in his room, not breathing but with a faint pulse, and administered CPR to no avail. While initial reports discussed the possible role of painkillers in Jackson's death, attention later turned to the medications he reportedly took for insomnia, most notably the anesthetic propofol (Diprivan). On August 28, 2009, the Los Angeles County Coroner released an official statement saying that Jackson's death was a homicide caused by the combination of drugs in his system. Before his death, Jackson reportedly had been administered propofol, lorazepam and midazolam. Law enforcement officials are conducting a manslaughter investigation of his personal physician, who has told investigators that he had been trying to wean Jackson off of propofol. Jackson's memorial was held on July 7, 2009 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where he was rehearsing for the London concerts just two days before his death, and was broadcast live around the world, attracting a global audience of up to one billion people.

On August 18, 2009, a spokesperson for the Jackson family stated that Jackson's burial was scheduled for to be held at 10:00 AM, on August 29, 2009 (his 51st birthday). However on August 20, 2009, Jackson's father confirmed that the burial had been delayed by two days, to August 31, because the family needed more time to prepare. On August 21, 2009, it was reported that the burial had been delayed - for a second time - to September 3, 2009. Jacksons's service and burial was held at Forest Lawn Cemetery of Glendale on September 3, 2009 at 7:00 pm; 10 weeks to the day after his death. The burial was attended mainly by family and close friends. Jackson's burial site (the Holly Terrace section in the Great Mausoleum) is not accessible to the general public or to the media, except on a 'limited basis.' Jackson's family had originally been considering burying Jackson at his Neverland Ranch - however, some family members objected to the site, having felt that the ranch had been "tainted by the sexual abuse allegations." On September 2, 2009, Jackson's estate agreed to pay for the cost of the his burial. The burial's overall cost reportedly was "about $50,000".

  • Lead vocalist and dancer: Michael Jackson
  • Choreographer: Michael Jackson
  • Music By: Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Robert Kelly, Quincy Jones. Music Distributed By Sony.
  • Keyboards: Michael Bearden, Morris Pleasure
  • Lead guitar: Orianthi Panagaris
  • Rhythm guitar: Thomas Organ
  • Bass: Alfred Dunbar
  • Percussion: Roger Bashiri Johnson
  • Drums: Jonathan Moffett
  • Background vocalists: Judith Hill, Dorian Holley, Darryl Phinnesse, Ken Stacey
  • Background dancers: Daniel Yao, Nicholas Bass, Daniel Celebre, Mekia Cox, Christopher Grant, Misha Hamilton, Shannon Holtzapffel, Devin Jamieson, Charles Klapow, Ricardo Reid, Danielle Rueda Watts, Tyne Stecklein, Timor Steffens

On September 23, 2009, information on and about the album were released. The album, titled This Is It is set to be released internationally on October 26, and will be released to the North America the following day on October 27, 2009. The two-disc album will feature music 'inspired from the documentary of the same name'. Sony said of the albums that: "Disc one will feature the original album masters of some of Michael's biggest hits arranged in the same sequence as they appear in the film" and stated that the "the disc ends with two versions of the 'never-released' «This Is It». This song is featured in the film's closing sequence and includes backing vocals by Michael Jackson's brothers, the Jacksons." Sony also stated that the second disc will feature "previously unreleased versions" from Jackson's 'catalogue of hits' and that It will also include a spoken word poem entitled "Planet Earth" (which orginally appeared in the liner notes of the Dangerous album) and a 36-page commemorative booklet with "exclusive photos of Michael Jackson from his last rehearsal". On October 9, Sony confirmed the songs that will appear on the album. A record label source said of This Is It - a song featured on the album: "It (the song) sounds awesome. The size and scope of the orchestra hasn't been seen since Ray Charles recorded Georgia. Everyone expects a huge hit" and described the song as being "set to be a huge hit" but stated of the song's secrecy that "they're worried about it getting out they've hired huge bodyguards to stand by the music studio's door." Rolling Stone stated that This Is It was recorded during the sessions for Jackson's 1991 album Dangerous.

Permission for distribution
According to TMZ.com, on September 17, 2009, lawyers for the estate received permission from a probate judge to close the deal with Sony, though neither of them released or disclosed the terms. TMZ.com stated that: "We've learned lawyers for Michael Jackson's estate went to court today and the probate judge gave permission for them to strike a deal with Sony Music for the production and distribution of a soundtrack album in connection with the 'Michael Jackson's This is It' film release." TMZ.com also stated that Sony and Jackson's estate had reached an agreement. On September 18, 2009 Sony Music confirmed, which TMZ.com had reported the previous day, that they had struck a deal with Jackson's estate to release the a CD soundtrack of the the film. Jeryll Cohen, an attorney for the special administrators of Jackson's estate, said of the short-timing they had for preparing the soundtrack for its given release date that: «In order for the album to be completed in time to be released simultaneously with the film, Sony Music must begin working on the film's soundtrack album immediately.»

  1. "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'"
  2. "Speechless"
  3. "Bad"
  4. "Smooth Criminal"
  5. "Jam"
  6. "They Don't Care About Us"
  7. "HIStory"
  8. "The Way You Make Me Feel"
  9. "I'll Be There"
  10. "Human Nature"
  11. "I Want You Back"
  12. "The Love You Save"
  1. "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)"
  2. "I Just Can't Stop Loving You"
  3. "Thriller"
  4. "Threatened"
  5. "Who Is It"
  6. "Beat It"
  7. "Black or White"
  8. "Earth Song"
  9. "Billie Jean"
  10. "Man in the Mirror"
  11. "This Is It"
  12. "Heal the World"

The film's director and choregrapher; Ortega stated that the rehearsal footage and concept of making a film to document the preparation of the concerts had come about as "an accident". Ortega stated the film was pieced together from "private footage" of Jackson and the concerts crew rehearsing and that before Jackson's death, was never intended to be released to the public, or even in general. "The recordings were made so we could use them, then the tapes were destined for Michael Jackson's private library. They have a real unguarded honesty to them." Ortega stated that he had gotten the idea to use the rehearsal footage from Jackon's fans after his death: "At first I got so many messages from fans around the world asking to see the shows, asking to see the footage and eventually I realised the journey wasn't over and we had to do this," and Ortega also stated that the film was made only for the Jackson fans: "The film is for the fans and the film will show the development and intentions of the show, and the concert as it moved closer to London."

Deal with AEG Live
On August 10, 2009, Mitchell Beckloff, who is a Superior Court Judge, officially approved the deal between Columbia Pictures (film distributor) and AEG Live (the concerts promoter) for Columbia to be able to purchase and distribute rehearsal footage of Jackson and the rehearsal crew for the film. The deal also included a merchandising agreement with Bravado International Group - the company is a division of Universal Music Group that is owned by Vivendi - so that they can distribute and and sell "Jackson-themed products". Columbia had reportedly paid 60 million (?35 million) for rights to the rehearsal footage in court documents that were filed. The papers filed had also reportedly stated that Jackson's estate will get 90% of the profits and that AEG will get the remaining 10% from the film's revenue. In the agreement, Columbia and AEG Live both agreed in the deal that the final version of the film should be no longer than 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes), and that the film must attain a PG rating. The contract also stated that the film is not allowed to show footage of Jackson that shows him in a negative way, stating that: "Footage that paints Jackson in a bad light will not be permitted" and "Under the terms of the proposed contract, the film will have to be screened for Jackson’s estate and cannot include any footage that puts the superstar in a bad light." AEG stated that they'd had given Columbia over "100 hours of footage of preparations and rehearsals for the shows" as part of the deal. The court papers stated that in order for the film to be released to the public the final version of the film must be screened to representatives for Jackson's Estate no later than October 2, 2009.

On September 9, the film's official theatrical movie poster was released. On September 10, 2009, it was reported that MTV's MTV Video Music Award's, who at the time had already announced that they would honor Jackson at the show, would premiere the film's first, and only known, trailer. The trailer premiered, as scheduled, right before the end of the VMAs show. The show was watched by a total of 9 million people; a 17% increase over 2008's show and the biggest ratings since the 2004 award show. On September 13, 2009, it was reported that a "secret Michael Jackson promotional music single is being produced" to promote the film, at which the film would have, at the time, been released the following month. It was reported that Jackson had recorded the song for release with his planned summer tour but after his death it was shelved until producers in Los Angeles remixed the vocals with an orchestral accompaniment. On September 23, 2009, it was reported that the film's new song This Is It will be released on October 12, 2009; sixteen days before the film's release. On October 9, it was confirmed that the song will debut online Monday at midnight - the song, will get its world premiere on MichaelJackson.com. On September 21, 2009, Sony released a 45-second clip of Jackson rehearsing his performance for "Human Nature" and also released stills from the video clip. On October 5, 2009 Youtube.com, who receives over 1 billion page views daily, advertised the film on their websites homepage. On October 9, 2009, IMDb.com, who receives 57 million page views monthly, and MTV.com advertised the film their website. As part of print marketing for the film Entertainment Weekly magazine did a cover story of the film for the magazine's October 16, 2009, issue, to collide with the films release for that same month. Also as part of promotion for the film, Entertainment Weekly released 8 "never before seen" movie stills from the film. On October 21, a clip of Jackson rehearsing The Way You Make Me Feel was released. On October 21, a 2 minute featurette of the film was released.

In September 2009, Sony launched "This-Is-It-Fans.com", which allows fans to sign up for an 'alert' so that they can be able to take part in 'Michael Jackson’s This Is It mosaic', in which fans can upload photos to the website, beginning from September 21, to September 30, and the completed mosaic will be posted online on October 22; six days before the film's release. On September 24, 2009, MTV announced, after the success the project proved with New Moon, that they will allow MTV registered users, to "watch and comment on any scene" in the film's already released trailer." MTV descirbed the project as "essentially being an in-video graphical overlay that allows users to comment on the video as it plays and review comments from other users. MTV stated that: "the doodad is back and this time we're launching it for the trailer for 'Michael Jackson's This Is It'. So here's how it works. Watch the film's video trailer. When it reaches a point that you'd like to comment on, click the Share button. From there you'll be asked to sign into your preferred social network, Facebook or Twitter, and make your comment. Whenever anyone watches the video thereafter, your words will be pegged to that timestamp in the video."

Obtaining tickets
On Monday, September 21, 2009, it was reported that there were three ways to obtain tickets to the film goes on sale starting Sunday, September 27. The three options for obtaining tickets were to get them at the box office; through the film's official Sony website (This-Is-It-Movie.com); or through the film's official ticket site (This-Is-It-Tickets.com). It was also reported that fans have the option of signing up for an 'alert' when tickets go on sale by a movie theatre in their area by going to "Tickets" section on This-Is-It.com. Fandango.com, who are a movie theatre ticket distributer, stated that tickets will be available for purchase starting as 12:01 am on Sunday, September 27, and stated that they'll continue to sell tickets for as long as they last. MTV.com stated that the are no internet sales of the tickets to the first screening - meaning that the only way to obtain tickets to the first screening are only available via the box office.
On Friday, September 25, 2009, lines opened at the courtyard outside the Nokia Theatre's L.A. Live complex in downtown Los Angeles. Dozens of people were waiting in line to purchase tickets three days before tickets went on sale through the box office. Though The Insider.com stated that there were 'crowds' of people starting as early as Thursday afternoon on September 24, 2009 afternoon. Tickets for the advance shows are scheduled to go on sale Saturday midnight/early Sunday morning, meaning that people already in line would have to 'spend days' (over 48 hours). The L.A. Live complex; allowed people waiting in line the opportunity to bring chairs - one per person - and umbrellas due to the 'long wait ahead of them.' AEG, which operates the L.A. Live complex stated that "no tents, alcohol, cooking or boom boxes were permitted in line" and set-up onsite monitors - that would issue 'passes for restroom and food breaks.'

It was reported that the "first 500 fans in line have been promised commemorative lenticular tickets designed by Jackson for the London concerts at the O2 Arena", the only other way to obtain those specialized tickets was to trade-in your concert tickets to the now-canceled tour. MTV.com also stated that: "Fans in line are also eligible to receive commemorative 'Michael Jackson's This Is It' T-shirts and posters. They're also being invited to sign the memorial wall set up outside the theater, which is open for anyone who wants to leave a message or memory for the late King of Pop." A reported total of 3,000 movie tickets will be available for the early screening of the film on October 27, 2009, at the L.A. Live's new Regal Cinemas Stadium 14, marking it the movie theater's grand opening. It's the only screening location offering the advance shows and commemorative tickets. Musician, James Bourne stated that he had waited over "50 hours" in line and that after he'd purchased his tickets he had received "wrist bands" as 'proof of purchase'. Jeff Labrecque, a writer for EntertainmentWeekly.com said of enthusiasm that Jackson's fans have for the movie to wait in line for days that: "Three months after Michael Jackson’s death, I’m still surprised by the passion of his fans." Bridget Daly, a writer for Hollyscoop.com said of dedication Jackson's fans have for him, to have to go through just to watch a screening of a film: "This is all so serious! Can you imagine those poor Michael Jackson fans who will have to stay up all night for a screening at 4AM? But it’s for Michael Jackson, so we can expect nothing less.!"

Ticket sales
On September 27, the first day of ticket sales, all 3,000 tickets to the advanced screenings of the film had "sold out within two hours on early Sunday (September 27, 2009)." Fans had reportedly waited in line for days. CinemaBlend.com reported that over 160 showings had sold out. Reuters.com, stated that "hundreds of screenings in North America have already sold out, a month before the film's October 28 opening." According to MovieTickets.com, sales of tickets to the film have "accounted for more than 82 percent of all the tickets sold at the site today (Monday, September 28, 2009)." CinemaBlend.com described the sale of tickets on MovieTickets.com as being "fairly significant" - but remarked that "this is after all, just a concert documentary." It was reported that over 80 percent of tickets sold on Fadango.com were for this film. It was also reported that the film had "accounted for some 80% of all online ticketing in the U.S. within its first 24 hours of sales, dominating presales compared with such upcoming titles as Avatar and The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Sony, confirmed that over 30,000 tickets were sold in the first 24 hours that tickets went of sale. Sony also stated - as of September 28, - that the film's 'moved' over 1 million dollars in tickets sales in Japan. Sony announced in a press release that in the "last 24 hours (since September 27)", that over 80% of all Fandango.com and Movietickets.com sales for the film, had already sold out in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Nashville and New York, among others and: "Internationally, exhibitors from London and Sydney to Bangkok and Tokyo have experienced the same epic demand." Sony stated in a statement of the film's good ticket sale's that: "Staggering advance sales were reported in Australia, where tickets for Michael Jackson's This Is It purchased through Village Cinemas exceeded the lifetime pre-sales of such blockbusters as Transformers and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. In Bangkok, Thailand, fans lined up at box office ticket counters throughout the city, and by the end of the first day, all tickets for the first showings across Bangkok were sold out. On Thursday October 1, 2009, Fadango.com stated the film was the 'top ticket seller' on the site. Both Fandango.com and Movietickets.com are reported that more than 1,600 screenings had already been sold out, via online pre-sales, by October 15. In United Kingdom, Vue Entertainment stated that they'd sold 64,000 tickets in the two-and-a-half weeks since ticket purchasing was made available, while Odeon Cinema stated that they'd had the sales of over 60,000 tickets by October 15.

E! Online.com said of the film, based on it's current record ticket selling, out-selling and making more revenue then Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert that: "Last year, Disney billed Miley Cyrus' Best of Both Worlds show as a one-week-only event. Then the film scored a $31 million opening weekend, and one week turned into 15. Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus became the top-grossing concert movie of all time. So far. While it's still early, This Is It is on track to top Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus. During its first three days of sales, Fandango said, Jackson's film outpaced Cyrus' first three days by a wide three-to-one margin." Joel Cohen, the executive vice president of MovieTickets.com, said of the ticket sales: "Michael Jackson is such an iconic figure, with a fan base that transcends even some of the most bankable stars in Hollywood. We expected there to be a large demand for tickets for an ‘event' film like this one, but MovieTickets.com has never seen such a high volume of sellouts this far in advance for any movie." A spokesperson for Fandango.com, stated that, as of October 4, that: "The film is the best-selling concert film of all time. We were expecting a huge rush of ticket sales within the first few days. They are still going strong as of Thursday, fives days in. It shows no sign of abating." Nikki Finke stated that she felt the film "could shatter box-office records" and predicted that the will take in a total of $250 million in its first five days of release alone - which would make it the biggest opening of all time; taking that record from the current title-holder The Dark Knight, which earned $203 million in its first five days of release.

Record sales
Stuart Boreman, Vue Entertainment's film buying director, stated that the film's sales of over 30,000 tickets in the period of 1 day (24 hours) had broken 'box office records' of having the 'biggest ever one-day sales record' in the United Kingdom, eclipsing advance buying for films such as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) and The Lord of the Rings (2001). Boreman stated: "I've never seen anything like it in the 25 years I have been film buying" and described the film's ticket sales as "a true phenomenon and sales show no sign of slowing down." It was reported that fans had "lined" up at the box office ticket counters throughout the city of Bangkok, Thailand, and that by the end of the first day "all tickets for the first showings across Bangkok were sold out." It was also reported that there were "sell-outs at theaters in France" and that "thousands of fans lined up at The Grand Rex in Paris and quickly bought out the film's first screening there. Record-setting sales also were recorded in Germany hundreds of fans lined up outside one theater in Munich at midnight to await the opening of the box office." A German exhibitor said of crowds of people lining up for tickets to the film, that: "Something like this never happened before in Germany." Among other countries, "record sales" and "sell-outs" are also being reported in Holland, Sweden, Belgium and New Zealand.
On October 1, 2009, MovieTickets.com said it had already "sold a record of more than 550 sellouts." On October 7, 2009; three weeks prior to the film's release, MovieTickets.com stated that the film had entered their "Top-25 Advance Ticket Sellers of All-Time", bumping The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring from the Number 25 slot. At #25, the film is currently 18 slots away from outselling Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert; which is the highest grossing concert film of all-time. A week before the film was to be released in South Africa it was confirmed that the film had broke multiple pre-sale ticket records for a film release in South Africa. With over 18,000 tickets already sold by October 21, 2009, and "only a few tickets left over" for the film's premiere at 2:00 am premiere on the 28, that is double what the previous record set by Quantum of Solace (2008) had, with, the pre-sales of over 7,500 tickets. By October 27, Kinekor cinemas sold over 24,000 pre-sale tickets in South Africa, tripling the previous pre-sale record.

3-D and IMAX
Despite that although IMAX screening's at venues are usually planned and booked months in advance by the film's movie distributors - Regal Entertainment Group, the nation's largest theater chain, stated on September 30, 2009, that they would screen 3-D and IMAX version's of the film at their cinemas. Regal stated that they are planning on making 25 of their IMAX locations available for the screening of the film when it opens to the public on October 28th, 2009. Dick Westerling, who's the head of marketing and advertising for Regal, said in a statement that: "Michael Jackson's This Is It advance ticket sales are extremely popular at our theatres across the country, so we are pleased to continue this momentum by adding the film in The IMAX Experience at 25 locations." The film's director; Kenny Ortega stated, on his official Twitter page, in response to people questioning whether the film will be in 3-D that: "Heads up, in answer to your question re Michael Jackson's This Is it, it is NOT in 3D."

IMAX Corporation and Sony stated on, October 26, that the film will open in digital IMAX theatres. Sony stated that the limited IMAX release will be played domestically during "evening show times" in 96 IMAX digital theatres. In addition, the movie will rplayed in 27 of the company's international digital locations. Sony described the film as having has been: "Digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience with proprietary IMAX DMR (Digital Re-mastering) technology. A key part of the IMAX DMR process includes re-mastering the soundtrack to take advantage of IMAX's 14,000 watt digital audio system." The film's IMAX screening will sound "10 times more" dynamic range than average systems in regular theatre, it will not have distortion and will have sound quality that "feels more immersive, especially with added acoustic paneling that absorbs sound and removes echo. This unparalleled sound experience combined with IMAX's crystal-clear images and customized theatre geometry create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are actually attending a Michael Jackson performance".

Release schedule
On August 11, 2009, it was widely announced, and later confirmed, that the film would be released to theatres in October 2009, though at the time no specific date was released or confirmed. When confirmed it was reported that the film was set be released worldwide on October 30, 2009. Later in August it was announced that the film's release date was rescheduled two days early for October 28. Sony stated that the film's release date was moved up by two days due to an 'overwhelming demand' for the film. On October 28, 2009, the film will be released United States domestically, Canada, and to various over-seas countries including United Kingdom, Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, Singapore and Spain. The following day, on October 29 the film will be released to Greece, Russia, Slovenia, Serbia, South Korea and Turkey. On October 30, the final worldwide start date, the film will be released to Bulgaria, Denmark, Iceland and Sweden. Overseas, Sony's worldwide distribution-marketing topper Jeff Blake said the studio is planning a wide foreign release for the film, with more than 8,500 prints sent out to exhibitors in 75 countries for the October 28, release - along with the 5,000 prints for the domestic launch. Though that's not a high-level opening on the foreign side, in which tentpole releases such as "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" launch with more than 10,000 playdates, but its well above average. The film, will be released in 99 countries on October 28, and later to 110 territories by October 30.

Release to China
On Tuesday October 6, 2009, it was reported and confirmed by a Sony executive, that the film had been chosen to be one of the last of China's "20 annual foreign movie import slots". China only allows 20 major foreign films to be released in the country every year on a revenue-sharing basis. The Hollywood Reporter stated the majority of the 20 films released to China are often successful at the box office, stating that: "But those Hollywood (film) releases are often immensely popular. China's two most recent all-time box office records were both set by American films." Chinese censors had reportedly approved the film before the countries weeklong holiday that started on October 1, clearing it in time for the global release date of October 28. Li Chow, manger of Sony Pictures Releasing International's stated that Sony will give the movie as wide a release as possible because of Jackson's popularity in China; depending on how many prints they can issue before the film's release on the 28th of that month, Li commented that: "We'll do as many prints as possible. It depends on the labs."

Early release
On September 21, 2009, it was reported that Sony will 'host' over 25 global premieres of the film, in over 15 different cities around the world, on Tuesday, October 27, 2009, one day before the film will be released to the public. Sony stated that location's with advanced screening include New York, Rio de Janeiro, London, Berlin and Seoul, though Sony did not release the names of the other cities that will host the 15 'simultaneous screenings', Variety reported there will be premieres in Moscow, Tokyo, Sydney and Paris at a 'later date'. In the United Kingdom, screening's of the film will be held at London's Leicester Square, and will take place at 1:00 am on Wednesday, October 28, 2009, in order to coincide with the 6:00 pm start time of the 'Los Angeles' premiere October 27, 2009. Following the film's London premiere event, United Kingdom audiences will be able to see the film for the first time starting as early as 4.00 am on Wednesday, October 28, 2009. The film's "grand opening" will be at Regal Cinemas Stadium 14, for the film's opening, the theatre will show the film on all of it's 14 screens that night. After the premiere of the film at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, screening's of the film will be followed three hours later in New York, Rio de Janeiro, London, Berlin, Johannesburg, and Seoul. The film's premiere event at the Nokia theater is set to be "broadcast via satellite." The film will be released across India with over "150 prints" - cities with tickets available for purchase are Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Bangalore. Jeff Blake, who is a chairman of the film's distributer Sony, said of giving advanced screening of the film worldwide-a day before its public release in a statement: «Michael Jackson has an army of fans everywhere around the world. By rolling out this film with simultaneous premieres and special advance screenings on October 27th, 2009 we are giving audiences an incredible opportunity to join together in celebration of Michael Jackson’s incredible career.» Kercy Daruwala, who's a manger of SPE Films, said: "We anticipate a major demand for this film because of the huge fan following of Michael Jackson in India and also because the film has a limited two week only engagement in theatres. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the 'King of Pop' perform larger than life. We have a host of activities planned around the film which we will be revealing in the days leading to the release."

Release Dates

  • United Kingdom (October 28, 2009)
  • Ireland (October 28, 2009)
  • Netherlands (October 28, 2009)
  • Australia (October 28, 2009)
  • New Zealand (October 28, 2009)
  • Bahamas (October 28, 2009)
  • South Africa (October 28, 2009)
  • Belgium (October 28, 2009)
  • Ukraine (October 28, 2009)
  • Germany (October 28, 2009)
  • Chile (October 28, 2009)
  • China (October 28, 2009)
  • Bahrain (October 28, 2009)
  • Argentina (October 29, 2009)
  • United States (October 28, 2009)
  • Uruguay (October 28, 2009)
  • Spain (October 28, 2009)
  • Sweden (October 28, 2009)
  • Canada (October 28, 2009)
  • Estonia (October 28, 2009)
  • Finland (October 28, 2009)
  • France (October 28, 2009)
  • India (October 28, 2009)
  • Italy (October 28, 2009)
  • Latvia (October 28, 2009)
  • Romania (October 28, 2009)
  • Greece (October 28, 2009)
  • Lithuania (October 28, 2009)
  • Thailand (October 28, 2009)
  • Indonesia (October 28,2009)
  • Singapore (October 28, 2009)
  • South Korea (October 28, 2009)
  • Honduras (October 28, 2009)
  • Mexico (October 28, 2009)
  • Japan (October 28, 2009)
  • Bolivia (October 28, 2009)
  • Venezuela (October 28, 2009)
  • Colombia (October 28, 2009)
  • Philippines (October 28, 2009)
  • Brazil (October 28, 2009)
  • Taiwan (October 28, 2009)
  • Qatar (October 28, 2009)
  • India (October 28, 2009)
  • Czech Republic (October 29, 2009)
  • Serbia (October 29, 2009)
  • Russia (October 29, 2009)
  • Turkey (October 29, 2009)
  • Slovenia (October 29, 2009)
  • Malaysia (October 29, 2009)
  • Denmark (October 30, 2009)
  • Bulgaria (October 30, 2009)
  • Hungary (October 30, 2009)
  • Tunisia (October 30, 2009)

Although a few hours after the movie first premiered, the reception has been are largely positive, with major newspapers around the world giving it rave reviews.

Home media
The DVD/Blu-ray release will contain the theatrical version in its entirety, with actual footage of the rehearsals, cutting edge interviews, and further behind the scenes outtakes. According to the iTunes Store it will be released on December 25, 2010.

AEG Live criticism
In September 2009, AEG, stated that based on the positive enthusiasm by fans for waiting in lines for days for tickets to the film, that they'd hoped that it was a sign that the public hadn't felt that they were exploiting Jackson after his death. Tim Leiweke, the president of AEG, stated that he hoped that the film would give fans some peace of mind that as a company, Jackson's 'legacy' and well being was always a priority and the fact that people had thought otherwise had really "hurt" people at AEG. Leiweke stated: "Some of the things that people have said about us, which are so untrue, this movie's going to restore his legacy, and prove that we, in fact, gave Michael a second chance here. And an opportunity to make the kind of comeback he was dreaming of. And that we created an environment for him that was probably the best environment that the guy had the last 10 or 15 years of his life. And I'm very proud of the way we treated Michael, and very proud of the partnership that we had with him. And this movie is an opportunity to celebrate that, and we could get past all of the gossip and all of the innuendo."

Jackson family's opposition to the film
Multiple members of Jackson's family had opposed the film from the start of the film's confirmation in August 2009. According to TMZ Jackson's nephews had tried to go to court to try to stop the film negotiation's between AEG Live and Sony. Jackson's older sister Latoya stated that she felt that Michael wouldn't have wanted the film to have been released because he wasn't giving his all into his performances. "Michael Jackson always wants to give his best. This is a rehearsal. He wasn’t giving his all. He loves to give his all always. That’s just the way he is. He wants people to see him at the top of the ladder and not half-stepping because he doesn’t want to do a full-out rehearsal." Jackson's mother, Katherine stated that she cannot watch the film, still under grief by Jackson's death, but hopes to watch it "another time". Despite members of the Jackson family opposing the film, Sony confirmed that they had given the entire family 60 premiere tickets to the film.

Body double hoax
In October 2009, Jackson's father, Joe stated and had strongly insisted that the film "is mostly body doubles" and that "the media is going to tear this movie apart" because of it. TMZ stated that members of the Jackson family had felt that footage of "Jackson" in the film wasn't him - but rather body double(s). On October 27, 2009 - the day before the film's release, Sony released a statement denying rumors that the film had rehearsal footage of Jackson body doubles. "This story is pure garbage and there are no body doubles. Audiences will begin to see the film tomorrow and every time they see The King of Pop they will know that every frame is unquestionably Michael as he rehearses and prepares for the London concerts that were to have begun this past summer."