Sales hot for Michael Jackson film

'This Is It' presales breaking records

Michael Jackson concert docu “This Is It” is racking up record-breaking presales as fans line up to purchase tickets for advanced screenings of the Sony pic, which bows Oct. 27.

In Los Angeles, ticketbuyers started camping out Thursday at the Nokia Plaza at L.A. Live to buy tickets for the L.A. screenings, which sold out all 3,000 seats within the first two hours on Sunday.

The L.A. showings are the first engagement at Regal’s new L.A. Live Cinemas, where the Jackson film will show on all 14 screens. Pic gets an industry premiere at 6 p.m. Oct. 27, and the first public showing is at 9 p.m. that night.

Sony said numbers are based on exhibitor figures as well as online ticket services such as Fandango and MovieTickets.com.

“This Is It” accounted for some 80% of all online ticketing in the U.S. within its first 24 hours of sales, dominating presales compared with such upcoming titles as “Avatar” and “The Twilight Saga: New Moon.”

In London, the pic sold more than 30,000 tickets, said Vue Entertainment’s film buying director Stuart Boreman, eclipsing advance buying in the U.K. for films like “Harry Potter” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

“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.”

Japanese theaters recorded more than $1 million in ticket sales within the first 24 hours; sell-outs also occurred in France, Australia, Germany and New Zealand.

Pic chronicles the last three months of Jackson’s life, with behind-the-scenes footage of rehearsals for his sold-out concerts slated for London’s O2 Arena.

Kenny Ortega, director of the stage show, also directed the film.

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