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Michael Jackson's This Is It

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Michael Jackson's This Is It
Michael Jackson's This Is It Poster.JPG
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Kenny Ortega
Produced by
  • Paul Gongaware
  • Kenny Ortega
  • Randy Phillips
Starring Michael Jackson
Music by Michael Bearden
  • Sandrine Orabona
  • Tim Patterson
Edited by
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • October 26, 2009 (2009-10-26)[1]
Running time
111 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $60 million
Box office $261.2 million[3]

Michael Jackson's This Is It is a 2009 American documentaryconcert film directed by Kenny Ortega that documents Michael Jackson's rehearsals and preparation for his concert series of the same name that was originally scheduled to start on July 13, 2009, but was cancelled due to his death eighteen days prior on June 25. The film consists of Jackson rehearsing musical numbers, directing his team, and additional behind-the-scenes footage including dancer auditions and costume design. Ortega confirmed that none of the footage was originally intended for release, but after Jackson's death it was agreed that the film be made. The footage was filmed in Los Angeles at the Staples Center and The Forum, and features a clip from Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey where Jackson publicly announced the concert series.

Concert promoter AEG Live has faced criticism since the film's confirmation, largely in the form of accusations that the film was made simply for profit. Multiple members of Jackson's family refused to support the film, and some family members even attempted to stop the film agreement in August 2009. In the same month, however, a judge approved a deal between Jackson's estate, AEG Live, and Columbia Pictures. The agreement allowed Columbia to edit the hundreds of hours of rehearsal footage needed to create the film. Columbia subsequently paid $60 million for the film rights.

Despite originally being set for October 30, the film's release date was rescheduled for October 26, 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 October 28 to November 10, 2009, but theatrical release was later extended. Tickets went on sale a month early (on September 27) to satisfy a high anticipated demand; the film broke numerous records via tickets both presale and sales worldwide.

The film received mostly positive reviews from critics; its portrayal of Jackson and his performances were generally praised, although some critics and fans of Jackson felt that the film was made to profit from Jackson's death and argued that the musician would not have wanted the film released because he was a perfectionist. Despite some fans boycotting the film, and his family not endorsing it, the ticket sales for This Is It broke international records a month before its release. 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.[4] In the first opening weekend it grossed $101 million worldwide. The film sold $32.5 million over its first five days in the United States and Canada, and $68.5 million in 97 other countries—making the number one film at the box office[5] and making it the fifth highest-grossing Halloween debut. On its theatrical run, the film's worldwide revenue gross was in total $261 million, making it both the highest-grossing concert film and documentary of all-time worldwide.[3]

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Where you from? I'm from Holland, and this is like ... Ten hours for me. It's, like, across the world. I came here for this audition. I told all my boys at home I'm coming to funk in front of Michael onstage. I'm just gonna dance for him. I don't care if I make it or nothing. Thank you, Michael. I'm excited. You've inspired everything in my life. My energy. You're why I dance. I remember being a little girl and watching "Thriller" with my mom ... and thinking that was the coolest thing in the world. I go to sleep and just wake up, and the first thing I do is not even eat. I just start playing your music ... and start just dancing and moon-walking on a rug. I was like, "What I would give to be onstage with you." And the fact that I get to do that is amazing, so ... I'm from Australia ... And I got word of your audition two days before it was about to happen ... and I was on the next flight over. It begins. This is the beginning. I'm not even onstage yet. Like, I can't even imagine what's gonna happen backstage ... - that first show in London. - I'm looking even farther ahead. I don't even know what I wanna do after this because this is Michael. I wanted to dance, you know what I mean? And that inspiration came from, you know, you. And you've inspired me and given me a reason to want to inspire others. Life is hard, right? I've kind of been searching for something to shake me up a little bit ... and give me a kind of a meaning, to believe in something. And this is it. So we open the show, as you know, with all the lights down. We're gonna create a spectacular opening with pyrotechnics. And we want some sizzles and some cracks and some pops. We have our video that is called "Glimpses and Flashes." And that's where Light Man ... comes out on the gantry, floating above the stage ... and he'll just be dazzling in video information. And piece by piece by piece by piece ... MJ is revealed, until he jumps out ... and on Michael's command, we begin. You know I'm gonna want that more, right? It's funkier. I'm not feeling that part enough. As in running next to him. - It's not there. - Okay, it should be. It should be. I know, it's all for love. - It's coming there. - We'll get it there. Jackson's ETA is 15 minutes. Michael Jackson last performed live right here in London ... at the 2006 World Music Awards. Michael Jackson's here. Go straight onstage. This is it! Yeah! This is it. This is it. I love you. We love you! I'll be performing the songs my fans wanna hear. This is really it. This is the final curtain call. Okay? And see you in July. Good. Great. Good to see all of you. Thank you for being here. The idea was get the big fish from all over and put them in the same pond. The dancers in a Michael Jackson show ... are an extension of Michael Jackson. They are an extension of the man. Everything is bigger and more intense in his world. First cut, thank you. Next group. Ladies, brava. Lean, gorgeous, hot. Dancers that can rock it. But if you don't have that goo ... that ooze coming out of you, not gonna get the job. She's the one. And the Michael Jackson principal dancers for This Is It are: Guys, those go over here. Hey, guys? Those go over here, actually. Truss moving. Quite the eventful day because we got to be toasted. There's elevator speed and toaster speed. Part of this, guys, is anticipating the stop. Keep your shoulders square, keep your center ... and just get right down into a nice, good squat position like that ... and you're gonna come up and ― - You feel that initial ―? - Yeah, I do. Yeah, that's the adrenaline, baby. We're at Culver Studios, shooting green screen. We're gonna do "The Drill" into "Cadence" ... into "They Don't Really Care About Us." It's gonna be really cool because they're gonna multiply the guys. So our existing 11 guys are gonna become 1100 guys ... and it'll be really, really cool. So we're kind of excited. And Michael's coming today. - There's the man. The man is here. - There's Michael. So that we can give you this: a million people. Michael, do you like this, first of all? Yeah, that's a cool move, a cool move, but it spreads out too much to the end. So we can just stop it whenever you hit the space bar. You can go to infinity. Yeah. As though there's no more than ... 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10? Or maybe just your nine dancers? - Ten. - Ten. Great. What is that? One more time. Six, seven, eight ... In what will go down in history ... as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. Hold for applause, hold for applause. Slow umbrella fade out. - Yeah. Yeah. - Let's just go for it. You sound great, MJ. You sound great. Bam, something right there. We're seconds away, Mike. - Rolling. - Rolling. And Gilda singing. Bravo! What's he doing here? And cut. That was a good one. Let's cut. - Okay, Bruce? - Yes, sir? Rehearsed, and Michael was great. We can do this. - Ready to shoot? - Yup. - Okay, guys, let's shoot this. - Here we go, ready. We are ... - rolling. - Action. What do you want me to do? Count three like they do in the movies? Guys, that's the cue. I'm sorry, are we misunderstanding something here? - No, we're not misunderstanding. - We're sizzling. - He's sizzling. - I'm sizzling. He's waiting for my point, it's coming. Michael, I was telling them to start when you turn toward the audience. Oh, no, I wanna turn first, face the audience with nothing. - Okay. - And then when he gets my cue ... - then we go. - The only thing is ... how will you see the video change from the marquee to the city? I gotta feel that. I'll feel it, the screen behind me. All right. Now this is all sizzle, sizzle, sizzle. It says "Smooth Criminal." The audience is going wild. The camera slowly starts to move ... over the marquee. Pretty good ... Pretty good. You're gonna put that in? It's really cool for me as a musical director ... because I need the artist to be hands-on ... and MJ is always hands-on with everything he does. He knows all of his records. He knows all of his tempos. He knows all of his keys of songs. Just a little drag, a little bit more behind the beat. Yeah. It's not the right sound. Like you're dragging yourself out of bed. Imagine this is the right sound. Check this. Don't change so soon, though. Don't wanna change over so soon yet. See, you're going: Don't do that one. Don't do that one. - Don't do that one yet? - No, no. It should be simpler. Yeah. We'll get the sound, we'll get the sound. We'll get the sound but that's not till tomorrow. We gotta do a sound check tomorrow night. That's what we need to do. And don't start unless you do a sound check. I know, that's why we doing it. We need you to do the sound check ... because can't nobody hear what you need to hear. Some people might not wanna have that bass ― I want it the way I wrote it. I mean ― Like the audience hears it. So whatever the record's doing, that's how I want it to sound. That's what it's gonna sound like, but you gotta get closer to what you want. Then if you wanna hear a little more booty ... on something else, know what I mean? Only you can say that. You know what I'm saying? A little more booty. That's funny. But you knew what I meant though too. I know exactly what you meant. One more time from the top. Try to get the same sound. Good sound on that. Good sound. No, no, not yet, Prince. No. You gotta ― You gotta let it simmer. It's got a moment where it has to simmer. - That's right. - You're not letting it simmer. Just bathe in the moonlight. You have to let it simmer a bit, you know? All right, Prince? We're gonna add two bars after the: Or at least a bar. Yeah. MJ, check it from the top again. See what we got, simmer-wise. One, two, three, four. I gotta cue that. I gotta cue that. - That shouldn't trigger on its own. - That's a special on our girl. That can't trigger on its own. I gotta cue that. So you gotta watch me for that growl, okay? One more time. That's why we rehearse. It's okay, it's okay. Right here on this one. They wanted us to take those eight out so ― It's okay, it's okay, no. It was a little too soon. - Yeah, I agree, Michael. - Yeah. - I think let's add them back. - Just leave it. You don't feel totally nourished by it, you know? MJ, we'll also have a fan there, right there in the center. I'm trying to hear you. Say it again? There'll be a fan, right there off the stage for you. Boom, right there. Okay, watching Michael. Once again, ladies and gentlemen, the world's most fabulous group: The Jackson 5. Everybody clap your hands. Come on! You guys, I gotta tell you this. When I'm trying to hear and it feels like ... somebody's fist is pushed into my ear ... it's really very difficult. I know you mean well, so, but it's ... I'm trying to adjust to the ear, the inner ears, okay? With the love, with the love. L-O-V-E. - Michael. - This is not easy though. Michael, one more time. I couldn't hear you, sir. The inner ears are very difficult for me when you're raised ... to use just your real own, you know, aural ― Auditory ears. Now it feels like somebody's fist, just their fist, is shoved into your ear. - Okay. - I'm trying to hear and I can't. So I'm adjusting to the situation. Right. Michael, is there anything they can give you now ... in your ears to make it better in terms of volume or mix? If we could just bring it down a little bit. Bring it down a little bit, please. Anything else, Michael? You wanna hear more of anything? You wanna hear more voice, wanna hear more ―? - No. - Okay, Michael, after the next song ... if it hasn't adjusted to your liking, please let us know? - For sure. - Thank you. Would you like to pick it up from ...? - "Stop! The Love You Save." - "Stop! The Love You Save." God bless you. Everybody! I'll say, "Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon ... Tito, Randy, I love you. Joseph and Katherine, God bless you. I love you." Just trying to conserve my throat, please, so understand. - And blackout. - We'll make it cleaner at the back. So you wanna get rid of the bad specials, those profiles coming in. There's a lot going on. The dancers ... we do maintenance with them two to three times a week. We do Pilates and stretching and ballet, and they have physical therapy. You know, just keeping everybody together. I saw you, you were going like this, what is this? That's Russian. This is Russian. So Baryshnikov does it like this ... and you guys are doing like this. Same thing. - Good. - One more time. But we're straight up and down now, right? I don't think it's anything except hand moving. I think that's smoother, you know what I mean? I mean, I have nothing to move. Dancers, music. Oh, my gosh. All right, "I Just Can't Stop Loving You." Judith. Let me know when you're ready. A mi amor eres tú Cuando no estas No hay quien me dé lo que das tú A mi amor eres tú Do it for Ortega. - Ortega. - Here we go. For his people. One, two, three. More echo in here? Now, don't make me sing out when I shouldn't be singing out. I'm warming ― I'm trying to warm up my voice for this moment. Why do you do this to me? I shouldn't be singing right now. - No. No, no. - You better sing! I'm warming up to the moment. - But you just can't help it, MJ. - No, but, I shouldn't. I really shouldn't. - Yeah, but you felt it. - No, no. But you can allow yourself that one time. I can't do that. But you're fine to do it. I gotta save my voice. That ending was just like the smelliest ending of all the versions. Band, it's just this. This is what it is. What day is it? What time is it? We're down to the wire. We're like halfway through our film shoot ... for all of our incredible new film content for This Is It. Today we are filming new segments for "Thriller," 3-D. - Do I still have on my 3-D glasses? - Yes. Oh, good. I think I look great in these glasses. Do I look as old as I feel? Guys, please step away if you're not in the shot. Photographers, everybody. Clear the set now for the crew. - Rolling! - Here we go. Action. This guy should be getting out soon. - You guys, be aware of the camera. - Look up to it. There's gonna be light on him. No light on him now. Give the information to him. Gravedigger, right into the camera. Put your ― There it is. Right into it, right in there. That's it, keep going. - Right there. - That's it. Right into the camera. Reach your hands out in front of you. - Yeah, yeah, yeah! - That's it, beautiful! Keep coming. Yeah, right into the lens. I'm in the center of the camera. There you go. Now, go out. Go out. Good. And cut. It's brilliant. Thank you, everybody. We call these the dead brides and the dead grooms. And there'll be a parade of them moving through the aisles in "Thriller." Darkness falls across the land The midnight hour is close at hand Creatures crawl in search of blood To terrorize y'all's neighborhood And whosoever shall be found Without the soul for getting down Must stand and face the hounds of hell And rot inside a corpse's shell The demons squeal in sheer delight It's you they spy, so plump, so right For though the groove is hard to beat Yet still you stand with frozen feet You try to run, you try to scream But no more sun you'll ever see For evil reaches from the crypt To crush you in its icy grip Make sure that there's somebody waiting for Michael there ... with a flashlight and everything. Great. Now, you know, could we do that times 10? Absolutely! Okay, so next is the fire screen. We're gonna show you some chase sequences. Rock 'n' roll! Today was all about ... testing the chandelier and bed props for the show ... with our aerialists and pole-dancing experts. It's all about checking dimension ... - widths, pipe, how things work. - Building props with people on it ... is a big responsibility and a lot of fun ... because we have to design things around the human body. This is the first time in the history we've worked with Michael ... for the past 25 years that we are including lighted elements ... in his "Billie Jean" costume. The cut of the stones, the refraction of the light ... as we're applying, you almost need sunglasses, just the reflection. We're bringing things into his performance ... where they haven't been developed. It's just being developed for Michael. I'm working with scientists in the Netherlands ... with people in California, working with Swarovski. Always trying to push the boundaries because that's what Michael's about. Now, is this working this evening? Without running the number, if Michael would like to ... just to give him a little ride so that he feels his new cherry picker out. From the top of "Beat It." - You wanna do it with music already? - Yeah. Can I just give you a ride first? - Sure. If you want. - Okay. Yeah. Just for safety. Thank you, sir. Thank you, Michael. - Sure. Sure. - Daredevil MJ. - I trust in you. - Thank you. Just for safety. Thank you. Stand by, guys. You've been there before. MJ, this is just at mid-height. It goes much higher than this. This is the low height. Why would you say that to me? You know better. See, why did you say that to him? He's teasing me. That's why. He know I wants to go higher. God bless you, Kenny. Hi. Yeah, yeah. Are the fans working on this? It's great. Michael, please hold on. - Thank you. - It's very nice. - Yeah? Is it smooth? - Yeah. Great. This is monumental, Michael's back on the cherry picker. - Yeah. - Thank you. - We love you, Michael. - Love you too. Okay, that's where you want it? When we come up ― What we're doing is ... We're doing it for the height. I'm gonna take off the jacket ... and kick it, and beat it, and beat it and we're gonna burn it. The jacket's gonna be too hot. It's gonna be on fire. I just wanted to know when that last one was. That's the one, I was pointing to it. I was pointing that to you. I got you. You don't have to do it again. We can. Do it again. Here it is right here, just do me the last one. Come on the one before it. Let's go on to C. One before. And let it burn, and the lights out! Lights out. Lights out! Let it burn! We're on a 10-minute break. I'm just so happy. This is a dream come true. When MJ comes in the room to rehearse with us ... his presence is just amazing. It's pretty, pretty cool. Really, really cool. Thank you. Michael is the epitome of one of the great entertainers of our time. Performing with Michael has just been a thrill. I've been a Michael Jackson fan since he was 8. It's like a lifelong dream for me to actually work with Michael. I've worked with a lot of great, great artists ... but I consider this, like, really a pinnacle. Michael's a perfectionist. You don't find that in pop musicians. You can't fool Michael. You have to come in knowing the record. Then, hopefully, finding a middle ground ... to embellish it to make it even better. He's just an icon of performance. His talent runs so deep in creativity. And he draws from a deeper emotion ... than anybody else I've ever seen or worked with. Right here, right here, right here. Okay, no second verse. Sorry. Okay, sorry, sorry. That was a mistake, there is no second verse. Sorry about that, you guys. First verse, then right to the bridge, okay? - Let's do it one more time. - Sure. - Wanna go down then come back up? - One more time. - This is why we have rehearsal. - There you go. So we'll run this way. When they stop, you have to just keep ― Just hit your highest note. It's time for you to shine. And hit a high, long one. I mean, way up there. It's your time to shine. We'll be right there with you. It's remarkable. It's some genius stuff going on over here, man. He is the king. And he's a good guy too. He's real humble. You know. And he knows his music. What more can you ask for? Because I'm searching for that flavor too. Look at that. I think it's beautiful. Show him the second one. - It'll come rolling out at us, right? - Yes. - All golden. Look at this. - It'll be floating so much. I love her. I love the light. - God, and the lighting's great. - Yeah. You got it. I respect the secrets and magic of nature. That's why it makes me so angry when I see these things that are happening. That every second, I hear, the size of a football field ... is torn down in the Amazon. I mean, that kind of stuff really bothers me. That's why I write these kind of songs, you know. It gives some sense of awareness and awakening and hope to people. I love the planet. I love trees. I have this thing for trees, and the colors and changing of leaves. I love it. And I respect those kind of things. The value would be greater ... you let it rumble ... let it stay open, let it close in silence. And when that door opens, you start that piano. God bless you. I really feel that nature is trying so hard ... to compensate for man's mismanagement of the planet. Because the planet is sick. Like a fever. If we don't fix it now, it's at the point of no return. This is our last chance to fix this problem that we have ... where it's like a runaway train ... and the time has come. This is it. I love you. That'll be the ending of this under the words. People are always saying, "They'll take care of it. The government'll ― Don't worry. They'll ―" "They" who? It starts with us. It's us. Or else it'll never be done. Guys, can I have the lighting crew? - Travis? - Yeah! First of all, Michael will be coming on from offstage ... and he's got, like, an attaché case. And right here, Michael, you call it here. So now it comes here. So it's a light that is moving on his command. - Absolutely. - Right? Then when he moves forward ... - he's in that light. - Yeah. He's in that light. But I wanna be able to step into the pool once I'm fully dressed. So then ― So after he does this ― Why don't you do this, Michael? After you go like this and you send that down ... a gesture and a pool of light comes on. Now a pool of light comes on down here ... - wherever his light is ... - Yeah. and the pool of light comes on and now he'll walk into it, center stage. And now he'll start. I know. At least we get a feel of it. God bless you. Church. The church of rock 'n' roll. I'm a fan. God bless you. Get some water. Water, water ... I just wanna say as Michael's creative partner in this venture ... this has been one of the most extraordinary experiences ... of my creative life. I am so proud and so thrilled and so excited ... and I just wanna thank everybody for their extraordinary work. And I'm gonna just give this to Michael now. Everybody's doing a great job. Let's continue and believe and have faith. Give me your all, your endurance, your patience and your understanding. But it's an adventure, it's a great adventure. It's nothing to be nervous about. They just want wonderful experiences, they want escapism. We wanna take them places that they've never been before. We wanna show them talent like they've never seen before. So give your all. And I love you all. And we're a family. Just know that. We're a family. - That's right. - Amen. We're putting love back into the world ... to remind the world that love is important. Love is important. To love each other. We're all one. That's the message. And take care of the planet. We have four years to get it right ... or else it's irreversible, the damage we've done. So we have an important message to give. Okay? It's important. But I thank you for your co-operation so far. Thank you. Big thank you. Blessings! Blessings to all. Michael Jackson! Have a beautiful Sunday. - Be safe. Stay healthy. - Energy! On three! On three, "Michael." One, two, three! Michael! What I'd like to do right now is just run, for a sound check, "Man in the Mirror." - Okay. - And then we'll talk about the ending. MJ Air. Your favorite part. Right? - They'd love that. - You have to do it like MJ. No, no, no. You know you love that part. I love when you ... No, no. That's how the stewardesses do it, I love when they do that. I love it. In third grade, the first song I sang was "Man in the Mirror." So it's kind of cool, like, going from that to this ... singing it onstage with Michael, you know. So it's just an amazing experience to be onstage with him. He's such an amazing artist. - There should be a break there. - Yeah, we gotta work that out. - Have it right there, okay? - Yeah, we gotta work that one out. Let me bathe in my own time when I come back in. Yeah, you got it. I'm gonna button my shirt or my jacket or whatever it is. I'm gonna look around a little bit, play with them. Snap my fingers maybe, then bam!



The film begins with a short text introduction stating the purpose of the footage and its intent: "For the fans..." After short dialogues from various dancers, Ortega is heard talking through the original concert opening sequence involving a body suit made from screens which display fast clips and images with bright intensity from which Jackson emerges on stage. Immediately after this, Jackson begins "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" first solo, which pauses half-way through and a small snippet of Jackson singing "Speechless" a cappella is shown. Jackson is then joined by dancers and completes the first number. A short clip showing rehearsals of the "toaster" mechanism is shown before rehearsal footage of "Jam" is played. This plays directly into the green screen adaptation of soldiers dancers for "Bad" which are also used for "They Don't Care About Us" which is shown next. From here, the film shows Michael directing Ortega and his band for his solo rehearsal performance of "Human Nature" which he performs a cappella, then acoustic and finally with full band. Green screen rehearsals for the video vignette for "Smooth Criminal" come next (with scenes from his film Moonwalker as well as the film Gilda featuring Rita Hayworth as the title character singing "Put the Blame on Mame"), with dress rehearsals of the song following, including parts of the vignette intertwined with the dancing. Jackson is seen next directing his musical team for the cues in his song "The Way You Make Me Feel". Jackson then performs a rehearsal with dancers which he alters and changes as he goes. Jackson then rehearses a medley of The Jackson 5 songs: "I Want You Back", "The Love You Save", "I'll Be There" and "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)". After this, Jackson sings with Judith Hill, one of his backup singers, on his duet song "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" in which he sings at full strength, directing his partner as he goes. The filming for the "Thriller" vignette is then shown with Jackson and Ortega watching with 3D glasses. Jackson is then seen rehearsing "Thriller" with the vignette intertwined like that in "Smooth Criminal." Footage of the show's aerialists rehearsing to the instrumental of "Who Is It" is shown next.

During the dance sequence, puppets are suspended in the audience aisles while Jackson emerges from a robotic spider originally seen in the vignette. Jackson and Ortega rehearsing the cherry-picker is seen next, along with Jackson rehearsing "Beat It". Footage of Jackson and the band rehearsing "Black or White" is shown next, in which he instructs his band to skip the second verse and later allows guitarist Orianthi Panagaris to take center stage to finish with a high guitar riff. The video sequence for "Earth Song" is shown next, featuring a little girl who wanders through a forest, falls asleep, and wakes up to find the forest destroyed by man. Jackson then performs the song, with his voice being heard at the end telling of the dangers of global warming and the lack of reversible time left. He then performs a quick version of his song "Billie Jean". Michael is then seen talking to all crew members and wishing everyone the best for the London performances. At a sound check, Michael performs "Man in the Mirror" with strong backing vocals. The credits are shown next, with a montage of rehearsal clips and "This Is It" being played in the background. After the show, a live recording of "Heal The World" was played. Then, the audio of "Human Nature" was played, with a clip of Michael rehearsing it in early June (the 3D screen was not set up yet). Then, a clip of what could have been a Dome Project video of "Heal the World" was shown, in which the girl that appeared in the "Earth Song" video was shown holding the world and a signed message, by Michael, saying "I Love You."

Songs performed in the film

# Song(s) Notes
1 "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" Performed without the third verse.
The first verse was rehearsed.
Contains an a cappella snippet of "Speechless". Live vocals. Key transposed.
2 "Jam" The second verse has been cut in the film, but was rehearsed as a complete song. The rap has also been cut down significantly in the film.
Contains a sample of "Another Part of Me". Dubbed vocals with live ad libs
3 "The Drill" A military dance sequence which features samples of "Bad", "Dangerous", and "Mind Is the Magic". Instrumental dance performance.
4 "They Don't Care About Us" Contains samples of "HIStory", "She Drives Me Wild" and "Why You Wanna Trip on Me".
Part of this song was released during the days after Jackson's death; in this version the sample of "HISTORY" is the original with the Great Gate Of Kiev; in the final film version this was changed to a similar piece of music composed by Michael Bearden, the show's musical director. This alteration is due to orchestra copyright issues, but the Great Gate Of Kiev was supposed to have been used. Features a mix of live and dubbed vocals.
5 "Human Nature" Also played during an alternate video clip shown after the end credits.
Was rehearsed as a complete song, but first lines not recorded. Live vocals.
6 "Smooth Criminal" Features a clip from Gilda where Jackson is digitally inserted into the video.
Includes the song "Put the Blame on Mame" from the film.
Includes scenes from Jackson's past film Moonwalker.
Features a clip from The Big Sleep where Jackson is digitally inserted into the film.
In a Lonely Place edited into a scene where he speaks to Dixon Steele (Humphrey Bogart) before being shot at by him.
The anti-gravity lean sequence is cut from the film, but was rehearsed. First verse is dubbed vocals,rest of the song live vocals
7 "The Way You Make Me Feel" Performed with the slowed-down intro from the 30th Grammy Awards ceremony.
The first verse is performed after the intro, but this was not shown. It was only shown being performed in the intro.
Performed without second verse. Dubbed vocals (pitch lowered) with live vocals at the beginning and then live ad libs at the end.
8 "I Want You Back" Part of The Jackson 5 Medley. Live vocals. Key transposed.
9 "The Love You Save" Part of The Jackson 5 Medley. Live vocals. Key transposed.
10 "I'll Be There" Part of The Jackson 5 Medley.
Performed with backing vocalist Daryll Phinnessee. Live vocals. Key transposed.
11 "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)" Contains a sample of "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough."
Performed as an instrumental dance sequence with the chorus sung by the backing vocalists.
Jackson only appears at the end of the number; backing dancers show off their moves.
12 "Stranger in Moscow" Was rehearsed on June 23, however no footage of this rehearsal was shown during the feature film. This song was planned to occasionally replace Human Nature during different nights. Live Vocals (Note: The song's placement during differ from the placement of the song during rehearsals.)
13 "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" Contains an a cappella snippet of its Spanish version "Todo Mi Amor Eres Tu."
Duet with backing vocalist Judith Hill. Live vocals. Key transposed.
14 "Thriller" Featured a new 3D video.
Contains samples from "Ghosts - Underscore" and "Threatened."
Was rehearsed as a complete song, but the intro was not featured in the film.
Contains the laugh and first rap verse by Vincent Price. Dubbed vocals.
15 ''Dirty Diana" Rehearsed on the 23rd June 2009 however footage of the run through of this song was not included in the cinematic feature film. Song was due to be fully rehearsed with props on the 25 June 2009. Live vocals
16 "Beat It" An instrumental version of "Who Is It" is played before the song showing the aerialists rehearsing.
The second verse, along with other parts of the song, were cut from the film, but was rehearsed as a complete song. Live vocals.
17 "Black or White" Performed without the second verse.
Features a new hard rock ending performed by Orianthi Panagaris and Tommy Organ. Live vocals.
18 "Earth Song" Featured a new 3D video which was due to be shown on the LED backing screen at the live shows. Live vocals until 3rd chorus, then dubbed vocals from "What About Us" (Earth Song Demo).
19 "Billie Jean" Features vocals from the song's original demos. Dubbed vocals then live vocals towards the end.
20 "Man in the Mirror" Performed as a sound check; the full song is not shown.
Was rehearsed as a complete song. Dubbed vocals after the chorus,then live ad libs after the bridge.
21 "This Is It" Audio played during the end credits.
Featured The Jacksons as backing vocalists.
22 "Heal the World" Remix with live instrumentation played during the end credits.
Was rehearsed without the second verse. Dubbed vocals (pitch lowered). Key transposed.


 The interior of The O2 Arena, where the concerts were set to have been held. Jackson was to perform from July 2009 to March 2010—which would have been the longest residency at the arena.[6]
The interior of The O2 Arena, where the concerts were set to have been held. Jackson was to perform from July 2009 to March 2010—which would have been the longest residency at the arena.[6]

On March 5, 2009 at the O2 Arena, Jackson announced that he was to perform 10 concerts as part of a comeback.[7][8] Jackson suggested likely post-show retirement bypass stating: "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, this will be the final curtain call."[9] On March 11, two days before pre-sale began, an extra 40 dates were added to meet high demand, bringing the number of shows to 50 — five of these dates were reserved in their entirety for the public sale.[10] Jackson's 50 dates would make the concerts the longest residency at the arena. In May 2009, the show was originally set to have begun on July 8, 2009, and finished on March 6, 2010.[11]

On May 20. 2009, it was announced that the first concert would be pushed back by eight days to July 16, 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 16, 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.[11] The This Is It concerts 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 Kenny Ortega, who would have served as his choreographer.[12] On June 29, 2009, only days after Jackson's death, AEG Live, the concert's promoter, offered ticket holders a choice; to either get refunded all the money spent on their ticket(s) or to keep the ticket(s) as a souvenir and memento by receiving the printed ticket that Jackson had designed himself.[13]


The album, titled This Is It was released on October 26 and debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart with the sales of over 373,000 in its first week of release.[14] The two-disc album features music 'that inspired the movie'.[15] 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 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."[16] 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 originally appeared in the liner notes of the Dangerous (1991) album) and a 36-page commemorative booklet with "photos of Michael [Jackson] from his last rehearsal".[17]


The film's director and choreographer 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".[18][19] Ortega stated the film was pieced together from "private footage", shot by documentarians Sandrine Orabona and Tim Patterson of Jackson, and that before Jackson's death, was never intended to be released to the public, or even in general.[19] "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."[19] Ortega stated that he had gotten the idea to use the rehearsal footage from Jackson'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 realized 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."[19]

On August 10, 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.[20][21] 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 sell "Jackson-themed products".[22] Columbia had reportedly paid $60 million for rights to the rehearsal footage in court documents that were filed.[23] 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.[22] 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."[23] 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 of Jackson's Estate.[24]



On September 9, 2009, the film's official theatrical poster was released. On September 10, 2009, it was reported that MTV's Video Music Awards, which at the time had already announced that they would honor Jackson at the show would premiere the film's first, and only known, trailer.[25] Along with Janet Jackson's tribute to Michael, the trailer of the film premiered at the 2009 MTV Video Music Award which was watched by a total of 9 million people.[26] 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.[27] 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.[28]

On September 23, 2009, it was reported that the film's new song "This Is It" would be released on October 12, 2009, sixteen days before the film's release.[28][29][30] On October 9, it was confirmed that the song would debut online the following Monday at midnight, receiving its world premiere on[31] 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.[32] As part of a print marketing campaign for the film, Entertainment Weekly magazine did a cover story of the film for the magazine's October 16, 2009 issue, to coincide with the film's release for that same month.[33][34] Also as part of promotion for the film, Entertainment Weekly released 8 "never before seen" movie stills from the film.[35] On October 21, a clip of Jackson rehearsing "The Way You Make Me Feel" was released.[36] On October 21, a 2-minute featurette of the film was released.[37]

In September 2009, Sony launched "", which allowed 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 could upload photos to the website, beginning September 21 and running to September 30, and the completed mosaic would be posted online on October 22, six days before the film's release.[38] 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 described 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.[39]

Ticket release

On September 25, 2009, lines opened at the courtyard outside the Nokia Theatre's L.A. Live complex in downtown Los Angeles. Hundreds of people were waiting in line to purchase tickets on the day the tickets were out on the box office.[40] 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.[40] 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.[40][41]

MTV 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 Jackson[41] 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 is the only screening location offering the advance shows and commemorative tickets.[42] Jeff Labrecque of En commented, "Three months after Michael Jackson's death, I'm still surprised by the passion of his fans."[43] Bridget Daly of Hollyscoop commented on the waiting time for tickets that, she could "expect nothing less" from Jackson's fans.[44]


On September 27, 2009, the first day of ticket sales, all 3,000 tickets to the advance screenings of the film had "sold out within two hours [on] early Sunday [September 27, 2009]." Fans had reportedly waited in line for days.[45][46] reported that over 160 showings had sold out.[47], stated that "hundreds of screenings in North America have already sold out, a month before the film's October 28 opening."[48] According to, 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]." described the sale of tickets on 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 were for this film.[49]

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.[50] Sony, confirmed that over 30,000 tickets were sold in the first 24 hours that tickets went on sale.[51][52] Sony also stated that the film had moved over 1 million dollars in tickets sales in Japan.[52] Sony announced in a press release that in the "last 24 hours [since September 27]", that over 80% of all and 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."[53] 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.[53]

On Thursday, October 1, 2009, stated the film was the 'top ticket seller' on the site.[54] Both and are reported that more than 1,600 screenings had already been sold out, via online pre-sales, by 15 October.[55] In United Kingdom, Vue Cinemas 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 15 October.[56] E! Online said of the film, based on its current record ticket selling, out-selling and making more revenue than 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."[54] Joel Cohen, the executive vice president of, 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 has never seen such a high volume of sellouts this far in advance for any movie."[57]

Record sales

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."[52] 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 [has] never happened before in Germany." Among other countries, "record sales" and "sell-outs" were also reported in the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and New Zealand.[52] On October 7, 2009, three weeks prior to the film's release, 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.[58] By October 27, Kinekor cinemas sold over 24,000 pre-sale tickets in South Africa, tripling the previous pre-sale record.[59]

IMAX and release

Despite the fact that IMAX screenings are usually planned and booked months in advance by the film's movie distributors, Regal Entertainment Group, America's largest cinema chain, stated on September 30, that they would screen IMAX versions of the film at their cinemas.[60] Regal stated that they are planning on making 25 of their IMAX locations available for the screening of the film when it opened to the public on 28 October.[60] Dick Westerling, head of marketing and advertising for Regal, stated that the film was selected due to its strong ticket sales.[60] IMAX Corporation and Sony stated that the film will open in digital IMAX theatres. and that the limited IMAX release will be played domestically during "evening show times" in 96 IMAX digital theaters, and additionally the movie will be played in 27 of the company's international digital locations.[61] 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.[61]

On August 11, 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.[62] When confirmed it was reported that the film was set be released worldwide on October 30, 2009.[63] Later in August it was announced that the film's release date was rescheduled two days early for October 28.[64] Sony stated that the film's release date was moved up by two days due to an 'overwhelming demand' for the film."[64] On October 6, 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".[65][66][67] China only allows 20 major foreign films to be released in the country every year on a revenue-sharing basis.[67] 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.[67][68] Li Chow, manager 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.[67]


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 had hoped it was a sign that the public had not felt that they were exploiting Jackson after his death.[69] AEG president Tim Leiweke stated 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.[69] 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."[69]

Multiple members of Jackson's family had opposed the film from the start in August 2009.[70] Jackson's nephews tried to go to court to try to stop negotiations between AEG Live and Sony.[70] Jackson's older sister La Toya stated that she felt that Michael would not have wanted the film to have been released because he was not giving his all into his performances.[71] 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.[70] TMZ stated that members of the Jackson family had felt that footage of "Jackson" in the film was not him but rather body double(s).[72] However, Sony released a statement denying rumors that the film had rehearsal footage of Jackson body doubles, describing the story as "pure garbage".[73][74]

At the time of Jackson's death, and in the aftermath of it, multiple reports surfaced that AEG Live purposely tried to hide Jackson's health concerns during preparations for his would-have-been concerts. Concerns included Jackson's frail appearance due to lack of eating that had reportedly caused Jackson to be unable to perform from lack of strength[75] and that AEG had used body doubles in rehearsals to stand in for Jackson.[70] After Jackson's death, AEG stated that there was no truth to any of the rumors and that Jackson was thin but in good enough condition to perform.[76] On 23 October 2009, days before the film's release, fans of Jackson launched a protest campaign against the film entitled "This Is not It".[77][78] The campaign's focus was to convince people that Jackson's health was neglected by AEG, among others, and that AEG was partly responsible for Jackson's death and now the company is making a profit off Jackson's death.[79] The group started a website and created their own 'trailer' for the movie to showcase their point-of-view on the documentary.[79] The protestors also inaccurately claimed that Jackson was 108 pounds (49 kg) at his death, contradicting Jackson's autopsy, which had stated that Jackson weighed 136 pounds (61 kg).[80] Shortly after the protest became news, The Guardian conducted a poll on their website asking users "What do you think of Michael Jackson's posthumous film This Is It?", 51.4% agreed with one of the two options: "I agree with the fans who are boycotting it—it's shameless profiteering".[81]


Box office

The film upon its debut grossed more internationally than in North America.[3] As of March 1, 2011, the film's total worldwide gross was $261,183,588.[3] The Hollywood Reporter said This Is It is going to take first place in the weekend box office chart with $23,234,394 at 3,481 theaters—with a per-theater average of $6,675 over the period of five days.[3] This return had "underperformed" to both Sony and film analysts' expectations—Sony's had originally expected the film to make an estimated 50 million,[82] but after the film's "disappointing" three-day gross, due to some fans, mostly in North America, boycotting the movie and issuing boycott propaganda in social networks and media, Sony lowered their expectations to $35 million,[83] while analysts expected an estimated 30 million for the weekend.[84] In the film's second weekend of wide release, it declined to 43.4%,[85] making $13,157,944, placing it at second at the box office, behind A Christmas Carol—which had grossed more than twice what This Is It made.[86] The film completed its theatrical run in North America on December 3, 2009.[84]

This Is It made its international debut in 110 territories on October 28–30, 2009. The film's revenue mainly consisted of international sales—72.4%.[3] Throughout the film's international release, it performed strongly at the box office, despite some criticism from other fans in North America. On November 7, the film surpassed the $100 million mark at the foreign box office, reaching block-buster status.[3][87] This Is It, at the Australian box office grossed $8,734,295[88][89] and $1,878,725[90] (in Australian currency).[90] This Is It debuted at first place at the United Kingdom box office, with the revenue of £4,877,255.[91] In the film's second weekend of release, with the gross revenue of the previous week being down 52%,[92] with £1,355,855, it placed at second at the United Kingdom—having been outgrossed by A Christmas Carol, which, similar to its second week at the North American box office, had been knocked to second place by the film.[93] The film's international revenue was significantly contributed to within Japan—with $58,4 million, followed by the United Kingdom—with $16 million.[94]

Box office result

Country[88] Total gross[88] As of[88] Release date[88]
North America $72,091,016 November 27, 2009 October 28, 2009
Total – Domestic $72,091,016 - -
Argentina $647,258 November 29, 2009 October 29, 2009
Australia $8,734,295 December 6, 2009 October 29, 2009
Austria $1,455,785 November 29, 2009 October 28, 2009
Bahrain $39,521 November 29, 2009 October 28, 2009
Belgium and Luxembourg $2,795,161 November 29, 2009 October 28, 2009
Bolivia $195,092 November 22, 2009 October 28, 2009
Brazil $3,603,288 November 29, 2009 October 28, 2009
Bulgaria $167,155 November 29, 2009 November 1, 2009
Chile $699,407 November 29, 2009 October 28, 2009
Colombia $1,065,543 November 29, 2009 October 28, 2009
Croatia $108,196 November 15, 2009 October 28, 2009
Czech Republic $1,890,019 November 29, 2009 October 28, 2009
Denmark $3,048,283 December 6, 2009 October 28, 2009
East Africa (Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda) $118,159 November 29, 2009 October 29, 2009
Ecuador $535,099 November 22, 2009 October 28, 2009
Egypt $58,350 November 22, 2009 October 28, 2009
Estonia $81,237 November 15, 2009 October 28, 2009
Finland $716,521 November 22, 2009 October 28, 2009
France and Algeria, Monaco, Morocco and Tunisia $14,545,085 November 29, 2009 October 28, 2009
Germany $13,019,854 November 22, 2009 October 28, 2009
Ghana $22,224 November 22, 2009 October 28, 2009
Greece $1,264,913 November 29, 2009 October 28, 2009
Hong Kong $1,174,486 November 29, 2009 October 29, 2009
Hungary $714,733 November 29, 2009 October 29, 2009
Iceland $82,956 December 6, 2009 October 28, 2009
Indonesia $827,814 November 29, 2009 October 28, 2009
Israel $154,114 November 15, 2009 October 29, 2009
Italy $6,157,165 November 22, 2009 October 28, 2009
Japan $58,432,753 December 6, 2009 October 28, 2009
Latvia $146,748 November 29, 2009 October 28, 2009
Lebanon $164,731 November 22, 2009 October 28, 2009
Lithuania $193,854 November 22, 2009 October 28, 2009
Malaysia $829,924 November 29, 2009 October 29, 2009
Mexico $3,231,979 November 29, 2009 October 28, 2009
Netherlands $5,918,448 November 29, 2009 October 28, 2009
New Zealand and Fiji $2,698,899 November 29, 2009 October 28, 2009
Nigeria $83,929 November 22, 2009 October 28, 2009
Norway $2,055,305 December 6, 2009 October 28, 2009
Peru $723,804 November 22, 2009 October 28, 2009
Philippines $1,324,068 November 29, 2009 October 28, 2009
Poland $2,366,616 November 29, 2009 October 28, 2009
Portugal and Angola $724,644 November 15, 2009 October 28, 2009
Romania $643,062 November 15, 2009 November 1, 2009
Russia – CIS $2,171,866 November 22, 2009 October 29, 2009
Serbia and Montenegro $22,802 November 29, 2009 October 29, 2009
Singapore $814,356 November 8, 2009 October 29, 2009
Slovakia $435,530 November 29, 2009 October 28, 2009
Slovenia $123,802 November 15, 2009 October 28, 2009
South Africa (Entire Region) $1,162,648 November 22, 2009 October 28, 2009
South Korea $825,115 November 29, 2009 October 28, 2009
Spain $5,010,725 November 15, 2009 October 28, 2009
Sweden $2,924,393 November 29, 2009 October 28, 2009
Taiwan $883,247 November 29, 2009 October 28, 2009
Thailand $401,085 November 22, 2009 October 28, 2009
Turkey $334,667 November 22, 2009 October 28, 2009
Ukraine $232,736 November 15, 2009 October 28, 2009
United Arab Emirates $437,234 November 29, 2009 October 28, 2009
United Kingdom and Ireland and Malta $16,070,992 November 22, 2009 October 30, 2009
Uruguay $90,951 November 22, 2009 October 28, 2009
Venezuela $2,109,782 November 29, 2009 October 28, 2009
Total – Foreign $189,092,572 - -
Total – Worldwide $261,183,588 - -

Critical response

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 67/100[95]
Review scores
Source Rating
IMDb 3.5/5 stars[96]
Rotten Tomatoes 4/5 stars[97]
Rolling Stone 4.5/5 stars[98]
The Daily Telegraph 3/5 stars[99]
Roger Ebert 4/4 stars[100]
The A.V. Club 4.5/5 stars[101]

The film received mostly positive reviews from film critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 80% of 162 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 7.1 out of 10. The site's general consensus is that "While it may not be the definitive concert film (or the insightful backstage look) some will hope for, Michael Jackson's This Is It packs more than enough entertainment value to live up to its ambitious title."[102] Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from film critics, has a rating score of 67 based on 32 reviews.[103]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times described the film as being an "extraordinary documentary," and stated that the film was "nothing at all like what" he was expecting to see.[104] Ebert dismissed reports that Jackson was in poor health and was underperforming, stating that the film did not show a "sick and drugged man forcing himself through grueling rehearsals, but a spirit embodied by music" and referred to Jackson's rehearsal performance(s) as having been "something else."[104] Kirt Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter praised the film for being "strange yet strangely beguiling" for capturing Jackson in "feverish grips of pure creativity" and stated that while the film presents that audience with a screen filled with everyone ranging from "performers, musicians, choreographers, crew members, craftsmen," she took notice that the film had primarily focused on Jackson.[105][106] Honeycutt perceived based on what he had seen from the behind-the-scenes look of rehearsals that he understood what it takes to "attain such dizzying heights in entertainment" and that he understood why Jackson "chose to stay away" from performing "for a decade" and, based on what he saw from footage from rehearsals that it "looks like the world has missed one helluva concert."[105][106] Honeycutt cited that the only thing that frustrated him more than knowing the "tragedy" that prevented the concert from happening was "not knowing what you're looking at" and commented that the film did not feel like a complete concert film because it had a grip on the audience, stating: "Where are Jackson and his conspirators at any given moment in the creative process? The film tries to be a concert film without having the actual footage. So when everything comes to a halt, audiences get thrown."[105][106] Peter Travers, of Rolling Stone described watching Jackson's "struggle" as being "illuminating, unnerving and unforgettable" and felt that the film was a great "transcendent tribute" to Jackson because it did not have, nor need, a "safety net."[107]

"More important, however, is that we rarely witness Jackson giving 100%: He frequently comments that he is saving his voice and body for the actual performances. Jackson certainly can't be faulted for this, but it's questionable whether he would really want his fans to see him thus. Don't get me wrong: 60% of Michael Jackson is still a pretty good thing [...] [Jackson] the noted perfectionist, at work, correcting others' dance moves without missing a beat himself and giving notes, sometimes revelatory and other times inscrutable, to his music director and others"
-Marjorie Baumgarten of Austin Chronicle[108]

Joshua Rothkopf of Time Out New York referred to being a "must-see danceumentary."[109] Rothkopf described Jackson as "obviously" having been "shooting for the moon right before his death" based on what he could tell from the "stunning bits of concert spectacle" of "phalanxes of computer-generated dancers, tempo changes on a dime, a bombshell of a blond guitarist who plays Eddie Van Halen's "Beat It" solo flawlessly".[109] Rothkopf stated that: "But the true value of this raw rehearsal footage is its emphasis, less known, on MJ's laserlike attention to detail, as he works his band and troupe up to speed. A firm floor manager himself, he's often exposed — and probably wouldn't have approved of this film. (One on one, High School Musical's Kenny Ortega, meanwhile, treats him with kid gloves: "I agree, Michael.") But to see him sweetly lose himself in "Human Nature" ("I like living this way...") is to feel a creature of the stage finally returned home, and possibly on the cusp of redemption."[109] Peter Paras, of E! Online felt that watching Jackson and his performances in a positive aspect is the "genius and the sadness of the entire film."[110] He did note that Jackson's performance of "Earth Song," which consists of using Jackson's voiceover to emphasize his environmental concerns while a bulldozer threatens to eat him, was well-intentioned — because it brought attention to environmental concerns — but felt it was a little over the top.[110] Paras felt the film showed an "exacting and refreshingly funny side of Jackson to be revealed" and "had Jackson lived, we never would have seen those moments" and felt the film was a proper way to "finally say goodbye" to Jackson.[110]

Marjorie Baumgarten of Austin Chronicle referred to the film as being "neither a true concert film nor a strict behind-the-scenes documentary, This Is It is, like Jackson himself, a real hybrid" and felt that while the film's "made up of lots of grainy footage, which Ortega has edited together seamlessly" it will also "provide a fitting farewell."[108] Baumgarten noted that "the finished film is a fairly complete concert run-through with each song edited" and that while the film will easily show that it was made for a profit, that, the audience will see a "film to be a fitting elegy."[108] Joe Morgenstern, of The Wall Street Journal, felt the film was "expertly packaged—brilliantly packaged," and noted that the film "quite convincingly" had emphasized that Jackson had enough energy to perform, even with his "wraith-thin body".[111] Ann Powers, of Los Angeles Times said that while the film offers only a few such "insights into Jackson's artistic process, though enough surface to make this a useful document, as well as a beautiful one" that the film is "a piece with Jackson's body of work: dazzling and strange, blurring the line between fantasy and reality."[112] She described Ortega's editing to make the film feel like a real concert film as being "almost too good to believe."[112] Powers praised the film for showing "intimate views" of Jackson, like his "vulnerable moments" during performances and felt the film was made "to honor not just the memory of Jackson but the hard work of a big cast and crew that never made it to opening night," which she felt mostly is a tribute to the "power of Jackson's body and voice."[112] Powers stated she had felt the film was such "a tragic teaser for the shows that might have been, 'This Is It' hurts. If Jackson had been able to perform as he frequently does during these scenes, he would have accomplished the comeback for which he was so hungry."[112] She noted that Jackson's "total lack of engagement with the cameras adds to the unreal mood" because he was always performing — "but for the imagined masses, not for the filmgoer" and that the film does not "entirely acknowledge that reality, and that's a little odd."[112]

"We see Jackson as a perfectionist, a generous boss, a tough taskmaster and a playful child. Off guard and probably unaware that it would ever be seen by the public, we find Jackson pushing his band and production team to the limit with demands to "let it sizzle" and "make the music simmer." Obsessive Jacko fans may be shocked by his Diva-ish behaviour as he complains about ear-pieces, but it's heartening to finally view the late singer as a rounded human with regular failings and imperfections. Similarly a scene featuring Jackson screaming "weeeee!" with childish glee as he moves around the stage on a giant cherry-picker, will surely bring a smile to even the most cynical viewer"
-Alex Fletcher of Digital Spy[113]

Lou Lumenick, of the New York Post strongly criticized both the film and Jackson's performances. Lumenick's criticism of Jackson's performances was he felt Jackson moves "stiffly and lethargically" and that it was "clear" that Jackson was lip-synching while performing "Thriller."[114] He felt Jackson's performance of "Smooth Criminal" looked "incongruous, to say the least" and that "the hokey environmental visuals accompanying 'Earth Song' are even worse," and cited "Beat It" as being the movie's "only half-decent number."[114] Lumenick said that he was certain that a "perfectionist" like Jackson would not want to have been remembered by a "shoddy piece of exploitation."[114] David Edwards, of Daily Mirror, stated that while he felt that the film is a "success" he overall disliked the film, having felt that "as an exercise in wringing every last penny from Jackson's legacy" the film "most certainly isn't it" a tribute.[115] Alex Fletcher, of Digital Spy described the film as having been an "essential viewing" and praised the film for showing "the real Michael Jackson" — which consisted of "difficult, odd, kind, obsessive and funny." He cited Jackson's best performances as "Thriller" and "Billie Jean" and the "worst material" as "Earth Song."[113] However, Fletcher did feel that, while based on the rehearsal footage, Jackson "falls short of his groundbreaking Dangerous and Bad world tours," he noted that Jackson's age and thinness was mostly likely a factor in his performances and described Jackson as having more "star quality and charisma than a million Simon Cowell factory-line production pop singers."[113]

Home media

This Is It was released on DVD and Blu-ray in North America on January 24, 2010 by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. It sold over 1.5 million units in U.S., alone within its first week of release, setting a new record for the first week sales of a music DVD.[116] By March 2011, in USA alone DVD and Blu-ray sales stood at 3.2 million with gross earnings of $62 million.[117] The film was released on the same day in Japan, also breaking records, with $18 million in sales on the title's first day of release—$11.3 million in DVD and $6.7 million in Blu-ray—breaking Ponyo's record of $6.2 million.[118] In Ireland, the DVD became the joint-third best-selling music "record" in terms of units, going 5x Platinum by the end of 2010.[119]


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Ireland (IRMA)[119] 5× Platinum 20,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[118] 12× Million 12,000,000^
Sweden (GLF)[120] 6× Platinum 120,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[121] 13× Platinum 650,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


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External links

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