In a case of what Billboard describes as turning "human tragedy into ... creative and financial triumph," the Michael Jackson concert documentary This Is It! opened with an estimated $32.5 million over its first five days ($21.3 million over the three-day weekend) in North America and $68.5 million in 97 other countries, including $10.4 million in Japan, $7.6 million in the U.K., $6.3 million in Germany, and $5.8 million in France. While the film's box office did not rival the openings of major studio blockbusters -- at least domestically -- it certainly exceeded the ticket sales for previous concert documentaries. Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus Best of Both Worlds 3D Concert collected $31.1 million over a three-day weekend last year, which included 3D surcharges at most theaters ( This Is It! played at a relative handful of IMAX venues), and $70.6 million worldwide. Like the Cyrus movie, This Is It! was announced as a limited-run event. But the movie had barely hit the screens before Sony announced that it was extending it until the Thanksgiving weekend. Overall ticket sales, which are typically soft over the last weekend of October and dismal over any weekend that includes Halloween, were up 7 percent over the comparable weekend last year. Meanwhile, Paranormal Activity continued to scare up ticket sales in its sixth week of release (three weeks nationwide), as it took in $16.5 million, to bring its domestic total to $84.8 million. But Saw VI bled 61 percent of its audience in its second week to wind up with about $5.6 million. Where the Wild Things Are suffered a worse decline, slumping 64 percent to $5.1 million. And The Boondock Saints II All Saints Day apparently played only to cult fans in the 68 theaters where it opened, earning $462,000.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo 1. Michael Jackson's This Is It, $21.3 million; 2. Paranormal Activity, $16.5 million; 3. Law Abiding Citizen, $7.3 million; 4. Couples Retreat, $6.1 million; 5. Saw VI, $5.6 million; 6. Where the Wild Things Are, $5.1 million; 7. The Stepfather, $3.4 million; 8. Astro Boy, $3.04 million; 9. Amelia, $3 million; 10. Cirque du Freak The Vampire's Assistant, $2.8 million.