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"What just seemed like a concert movie in the beginning has turned out to be so much more."
—-Rory Bruer, Sony Pictures
MICHAEL JACKSON’S THIS IS IT TOPS WEEKEND BOX OFFICE
Racks Up $32.5 Million U.S., $103 Million Worldwide, Run Extended Through Thanksgiving
Michael Jackson’s This Is It fell short of the $250m worldwide gross some had predicted, but still racked up enough business over five days to gross $103 million worldwide and $34.5 million in the U.S.

Sony Pictures, which paid a reported $60 million to acquire the rights to the behind-the-scenes documentary, saw the well-reviewed movie top the weekend stateside box office with $21.3 million in 5,500 screens at 3,481 theaters, the fifth highest-grossing Halloween release and the most ever for a concert film, beating Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour, which grossed more than $70 million worldwide last year for Disney.

Sony also announced they would extend the movie’s two-week-long engagement through Thanksgiving, which is no surprise to most observers.

The strong performance of This Is It, along with the continued success of Paramount Pictures’ low-budget horror flick Paranormal Activity helped domestic box office results to run more than 5% ahead of the same weekend last year. Overall box office continues to outpace last year, with ticket sales up by nearly 7.7% and attendance up by more than 3.6%.

This Is It’s five-day U.S. gross of $34.5 million fell below some expectations, as did the estimated $68.5 million the movie did internationally.

Rory Bruer, head of world-wide distribution for Sony Pictures, insisted the documentary performed in line with studio expectations for North America and outpaced them internationally, adding that the studio first projected the movie would open domestically in the range of $30 million to $40 million.

Sony announced on Sunday that it would extend the limited two-week run for This Is It for three more weeks in domestic theaters. Internationally, the studio will extend the movie on a "territory-by-territory basis," likely ranging from one week to three weeks. The DVD will probably arrive in February.

Bruer added that the studio is so pleased with the film that it is even considering an Oscar campaign for the picture. "Michael was one of those few artists that touched everyone on the planet," he says. "What just seemed like a concert movie in the beginning has turned out to be so much more."

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