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'This Is It' Dances to the Top of Weekend Box Office

November 2, 2009, 2:25 am GMT

Dethroning 'Paranormal Activity' at the North American box office, the Michael Jackson's backstage documentary also becomes the highest-grossing concert film worldwide.



There is nowhere but atop the chart for the late Michael Jackson as his backstage documentary "This Is It" nabbed the #1 spot at the North American box office. Despite making a so-so start, the movie that compiled the late King of Pop's rehearsal footage did reign over the Halloween weekend with $23.2 million.

Since it was released on Wednesday, October 28, the Kenny Ortega-directed movie has produced $34.4 million in North America alone. Overseas, it garnered $69.5 million, including $10.4 million in Japan, $6.3 million in Germany, $5.8 million in France and $3.2 million in China. Both domestic and international numbers brought the movie to the total of $103.9 million worldwide.

The hundred-plus bow easily made "This Is It" the highest-grossing concert film worldwide. It bested over Miley Cyrus' "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour" which scored $70.6 million worldwide in 2008. "It was expected to be the top-grossing film," said Box Office Mojo's editor Brandon Gray. "It probably didn't match the hype surrounding it. It's still a very good opening for that type of a picture. The norm is for those films to do very little business."

With the massive opening came an extending release announcement from Sony Pictures. On Sunday, November 1, the studio revealed its plan to let the movie which was initially set to play in theaters for two weeks, to play through the Thanksgiving weekend. That extended the film's theatrical run for three additional weeks domestically. The studio will also extend the screenings in overseas territories for one to three weeks.

On a solid #2 at the North American box office was "Paranormal Activity". Although giving up the crowned position to "This Is It" after expanding from 1,945 to 2,404 theaters, the indie horror continued its sensational run at the chart with $16.4 million. The additional bow brought the Oren Peli-directed movie to the total earning of $84.6 million.

Both of "Law Abiding Citizen" and "Couples Retreat", in the meantime, climbed up one spot to the third and fourth place respectively. "Citizen", which stars Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx, took in $7.4 million in its third week, whereas "Couples", which was co-written by Vince Vaughn, added $6.5 million to the total of $87 million.

Rounding up the top five was "Saw VI"*. Despite the fact that it was a Halloween weekend, the latest movie from the "Saw" series faced a 62.7% decline in ticket sales and dropped three spots to fifth place. In its second week in theaters, the serial-killer thriller managed only to pull in $5.1 million to the total of $22.5 million.

Top Ten Movies at Box Office for October 30 - November 1:

  1. "This Is It" - $23.2 million
  2. "Paranormal Activity" - $16.4 million
  3. "Law Abiding Citizen" - $7.4 million
  4. "Couples Retreat" - $6.5 million
  5. "Where the Wild Things Are" - $5.9 million
  6. "Saw VI" - $5.1 million
  7. "Astro Boy" - $3.5 million
  8. "The Stepfather" - $3.2 million
  9. "The Vampire's Assistant" - $3.1 million
  10. "Amelia" - $3 million
*UPDATE: When the final figures came out on Monday, November 2, "Saw VI" dropped another slot to the sixth. Hence, it swapped place with "Where the Wild Things Are", which now secured the fifth position on the chart.

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