Michael Jackson’s This Is It movie tickets sold out; Japan touches $1 million

MUMBAI: The first 24-hours of pre-sales activity for Michael Jackson’s This Is It has resulted in record-breaking sales throughout the world as fans secure the first tickets to the two-week, limited engagement of the highly-anticipated motion picture.

With reports still coming in from nations around the world, it is believed no movie in history has generated so many ticket sales so far in advance of its release.

In Japan, more than $1 million in ticket sales were recorded within the first 24 hours of their release, setting an advanced-sales record unmatched by any movie in history. On the other hand, in India, the advance opened in select theaters and approximately 1000 tickets were sold across India on Day 1.

In North America, online ticket sellers Fandango and MovieTickets.com report that there is extraordinary demand for the film with hundreds of showtimes already sold out after one day of pre-sales. Some 80% of all online ticketing service transactions were for the film, which will debut in some markets with special advance showings the evening of 27 October and will open worldwide on 28 October. The film is directed by long-time Jackson collaborator Kenny Ortega.

In the US, an unprecedented number of shows for the two-week engagement have sold out in the first 24 hours of ticket availability in locations from coast-to-coast, including such cities as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Nashville and New York, among others. Internationally, exhibitors from London and Sydney to Bangkok and Tokyo have experienced the same epic demand.

In London, Vue Entertainment’s film buying director Stuart Boreman said Michael Jackson’s This Is It sold more than 30,000 tickets in its first 24-hours, setting the biggest ever one-day sales record in the UK, eclipsing advance buying for films including Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings. "I’ve never seen anything like it in the 25 years I have been film buying," Boreman said. "It’s a true phenomenon and sales show no sign of slowing down."

In the United States, more than 500,000 fans performed searches for showtimes on the official www.thisisit-movie.com website. Online buzz for Michael Jackson’s This Is It was 60 percent higher Sunday than for any other upcoming film.

Sony Picture Releasing president of worldwide theatrical distribution Rory Bruer said, "Michael Jackson’s fans all over the globe have enormous interest in this film and we can assure they will not be disappointed. This film delivers on everything they hope and expect to see. I think the initial sales activity we are seeing in the United States and United Kingdom to countries such as Australia and Thailand underscores the unique nature of this film, which is a special celebration of Michael and his music."

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.

In Bangkok, Thailand, fans lined up at box office ticket counters throughout the city, and by the end of the first day, all tickets for the first showings across Bangkok were sold-out.

In Los Angeles, at Regal Cinema’s LA LIVE Stadium 14, fans began lining up on Thursday night for tickets to some of the city’s first public showings, and within hours of Sunday morning’s starting bell for advance pre-sales, the exhibitor reported selling out of all 3,000 of their seats for shows on Tuesday night – 27 October.

Sell-outs at theaters in France are also being reported; 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. As one German exhibitor noted, "Something like this never happened before in Germany."

Record sales and sell-outs are also being reported in Holland, Sweden, Belgium and New Zealand, among other countries.