Sony Pictures Twitter account, @SonyPictures, was on fire Tuesday night with constant tweet updates about this celebrity or that celebrity showing up on the red carpet to go watch the premier of the late Michael Jackson in This Is It. Along with those celebrities, thousands of people across the nation were able to see the film for the first time as well.
According to CNN, This Is It brought in an estimated $2.2 million for Tuesday October 27th, and although the official numbers will take another day or so to be finalized, the final numbers shouldn’t be too much higher or lower than that. There are some conflicting numbers coming out though, and it may not be until later next week before we see anything concrete. While CNN is saying $2.2 million, Hollywood Insider is reporting $7.4 million domestic and $12.7 international. The LA Times seems to echo Hollywood Insider’s numbers with a global total of $20.1 million
That is a pretty fair number for a limited Tuesday release, but leave it to the Spin Doctors in Hollywood to make it look better than it actually is. Senior Vice President for Media Relations (read: Spin Doctor) Steve Elzer, was first to point out the “record” This Is It has broken:
“[The box office numbers This Is It took in]…,is unprecedented for a Tuesday in October.”
And what quip did he have to offer regarding Wednesday’s estimates?
“Early matinee shows have been explosive! With Wednesday matinees already surpassing the $2.2 million generated last night.”
Man I want to be a Spin Doctor (and I’m not talking about the awesome band from the 90s); these guys can make you think that stepping in a pile of dog poop bare foot is a good thing. Granted, $7.4 million or even $2.2 million is a nice number and I have no doubt that Sony will easily recoup its investment of $60 million to buy the rights to the Jackson tour footage from concert promoter AEG, but let’s just put all this into perspective.
This Is It is going to be a very hard film to judge fairly on a level playing field since it is the only film to ever open on a world-wide basis on the same day. But for this comparison we will just use the domestic numbers. A quick trip to Box Office Mojo shows us the top 11 films since 1982 to open on a Tuesday and they are as follows (all numbers in millions):
07/03/07 – $27.8 – Transformers
06/06/06 – $12.6 – The Omen
12/25/01 – $10.2 – Ali
12/25/07 – $ 9.5 – Aliens vs. Predator – Requiem
12/25/90 – $ 6.3 – The Godfather III
12/25/07 – $ 3.6 – The Great Debaters
12/25/07 – $ 2.8 – Juno
12/25/01 – $ 2.5 – Kate and Leopold
12/25/07 – $ 2.3 – The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep
07/03/07 – $ 2.2 – License to Wed
07/03/07 – $ 0.7 – Sicko
So if you look closely, there are NO movies that open on a Tuesday in October, and each of the movies that have opened on a Tuesday on any date, have been on or near holidays (4th of July and Christmas). The only anomaly is The Omen which just wanted to capitalize on the 6/6/6 release date.
So is Elzer making up a false number? No, he is dead on when he says “unprecedented for a Tuesday in October” but it’s not entirely a fair observation either. If we use CNN’s number then the only Tuesday movie This Is It beat was Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko, so I suppose technically This Is It did break a record to claim 11th place. If we use the LA Times number (which is probably a bit more accurate) then the movie moves up the ladder to 5th place.
Honestly, I’m not trying to take away anything from This Is It, but last week AEG made the absurd comment that the movie would make $250 million in 5 days – a statement Sony execs were quick to shoot down. When you make predictions like that, you can be sure people will quickly point out when those predictions don’t come true. This Is It is bound to make a hefty sum of money because of the 11,000 screens it will be playing on. As Screen Rant writer Mike Wilkerson said to me earlier:
“If you have 90,000 rain catchers during a storm, you’ll catch more water than if you only had 3,300.”
So far, people seem to be enjoying themselves both during and after the film. I know my Twitter feed was alive with movie critics from websites I tend to trust saying how much they enjoyed it and how unexpectedly fun the film was to watch. I doubt I will ever watch the movie in a theater but I could see myself renting it somewhere down the line.
Have you seen This Is It yet, do you plan on it and what do you think its 5-day box office take will be?
This Is It is playing literally in every theater you can think of right now.