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"This Is It" a Winner

28 Oct, 2009 By: Thomas K. Arnold

I went to the world premiere last night of the Michael Jackson concert film This Is It, a patchwork documentary of sorts about the concert tour that never was. And while I have never considered myself a diehard Michael Jackson fan, I will say the movie captivated me for its entire two-hour run. I'll admit, part of it was my almost morbid curiosity about what, exactly, Jackson was like in what turned out to be the final three months of his life. And what the film portrays is a more personal, more revealing portrait of the real Michael Jackson than any previous documentary or film I've seen about the King of Pop. Director Kenny Ortega really did a good job with this movie, taking what one would think would be a series of random behind-the-scenes clips from Jackson's rehearsal sessions and fashioning them into a real movie that requires neither narration nor plot to offer a revealing glimpse into one of the most interesting pop cultural icons the world has ever seen.

Much has been made of Sony Pictures' contention that it will only keep the film in theaters for two weeks; I think if the movie catches on, it will stay longer, but then again, it's aimed at Jackson's fans, and those fans are going to rush out and see it right away. My prediction: The film will wind up grossing about $60 million in U.S. theaters, but when it comes out on DVD--and I've heard varying dates, both before and after Christmas, although nothing's been officially set yet--it's going to become one of the biggest-selling music discs of all time. It's made for Blu-ray--and I don't think Sony Pictures Home Entertainment executives will be disappointed in total sales, even though their hoped-for total, 3 million discs, seems a little high.

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