LOS ANGELES – The King of Pop is No. 1 again.
“Michael Jackson’s This Is It” has landed on top of the domestic box office with $7.4 million in its first day and $12.7 million overseas.
That gives the film documenting Jackson’s rehearsals for his planned concert tour a worldwide total of $20.1 million.
Distributor Sony said the $7.4 million domestic haul is the best ever for a movie on a Wednesday in October. “This Is It” was easily the No. 1 film domestically, coming in ahead of the $1.5 million gross for “Paranormal Activity,” last weekend’s top box-office earner.
Jackson died June 25, just before he was to begin a marathon run of comeback concerts in London. “This Is It” was built around more than 100 hours of behind-the-scenes footage shot between March and June as Jackson and his backup performers developed the numbers intended for his elaborate stage shows.
Sony said it expected strong results for the film this Friday and Sunday, though Saturday may leave a hole in the overall box office, falling on Halloween, when audiences typically are preoccupied with parties and trick-or-treating.
In a single day, “This Is It” climbed into the ranks of top-grossing music documentaries, just behind the $8.6 million domestic haul of “U2: Rattle and Hum.”
By this weekend, “This Is It” is likely to shoot past such films as “Madonna: Truth or Dare” ($15 million) and “Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience” ($19.2 million) to become the No. 2 draw all-time on the music-documentary chart.
The No. 1 music documentary is “Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert,” which had a $31.1 million opening weekend last year and took in $65.3 million over its entire theatrical run.
Among the totals from other countries, “This Is It” brought in $1.9 million in Great Britain, $1.4 million France, $1.2 million in Japan and $1.1 million in Germany.
The film debuted in 99 countries Wednesday and expands to 10 more Thursday.
The film features Jackson doing all his biggest hits, including “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “Thriller,” “Human Nature” and “Smooth Criminal.”