'This Is It' collects $2.2 million from late night shows
"This Is It" sold $2.2 million worth of tickets in late night Tuesday screenings in the U.S. and Canada, a strong number for a weeknight outside of the summer, when most adults have work and kids have school the next day.
The healthy debut is good news for Sony, which spent a hefty $60 million to acquire rights to make the movie and has invested tens of millions more in marketing around the world.
Most Sony insiders had expected a solid start, however, since audience surveys showed there was a relatively small but passionate group of moviegoers who wanted to see "This Is It" as soon as possible. The big question is whether word-of-mouth will attract more casual Jackson fans in the coming days and whether those who turned out opening night will return a second (or fifth?) time.
Nonetheless, everybody loves a big launch. And with $2.2 million already in the bank, "This Is It" could easily gross more than $15 million by the end of today.
The big money for "This Is It" will come from overseas, however, where the movie opened in 97 territories last night and today. Sony executives are predicting the movie will collect at least twice as much from foreign countries as it does domestically. International ticket sales aren't yet available, though a studio spokesman said that "early indications already reveal strong late show and early matinee attendance" overseas.
Photo: Young fans watching red carpet arrivals at last night's premiere of "This Is It" at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. Credit: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images