Thursday, October 29, 2009

This Is It opens with $7.4 million Wednesday.

My apologies, apparently the 'early estimates' this morning at 10am were just wild guesses.

The Michael Jackson documentary This Is It opened with $7.4 million, including $2.2 million from Tuesday night advance showings. Since this release is relatively unprecedented, there is not much we can look to for clues for the full opening five-day total. But expect a HUGE (60% or more) plunge for Thursday, as the die-hards went on Wednesday and the generally curious can wait until the weekend.

Amusingly enough, the insane predictions from AEG that the film would do $250 million in five-days has come back to bite them in the butt. See, here's a lesson we learned from Star Wars: Episode One: The Phantom Menace... when you tell people that every screening is going to be packed and/or sold out, the casual moviegoer is that much less likely to venture out in the first days of release. Sure enough, the softer than expected overseas numbers are being blamed on the stories of alleged sell-outs and packed theaters. Free tip to AEG: always underestimate your box office predictions.

The frontload-factor should be pretty high, but the fact that this was released in the middle of an October school week may prop up the weekend numbers just a bit. We won't really have a genuine idea of where this is going until the Friday numbers roll in (and Saturday night being Halloween won't help either). But I can probably tell you that the opening day-to-weekend multiplier will probably be somewhere between the 2.75x for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (which would put the This Is It five-day total at $20 million) and the 11.01x multiplier of Shrek 2 (which would give the MJ documentary about $81 million). Place your bets accordingly.

Scott Mendelson

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