'This Is It' First Day Box Office (Sort of) Breaks Records

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.

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