'This Is It' tops weekend boxoffice

Michael Jackson doc adds $21.3 million to its haul

'This Is It' leads overseas boxoffice

Sony's Michael Jackson documentary "This Is It" danced its way to the top of the weekend boxoffice, even without hitting all of its marks.

"This Is It" fetched an estimated $21.3 million domestically during the weekend, producing $32.5 million in cumulative boxoffice since the music-filled documentary hit theaters at 9 p.m. PDT Tuesday amid overheated expectations of a $40 million-plus bow through its first 5 1/2 days. With a worldwide cume of $101 million after a simultaneous international debut, Sony said it has nixed plans for a two-week-only campaign and extended the film's theatrical run for three additional weeks domestically and one to three weeks in overseas territories.

Paramount's supernatural thriller "Paranormal Activity" was second on the weekend with $16.5 million. That gave the micro-budgeted ghost story an $84.8 million cume and a likely trajectory past $100 million domestically.

Overture Films' crime thriller "Law Abiding Citizen" ranked third with $7.3 million and a $51.4 million cume through its third weekend in release. Lionsgate's horror sequel "Saw VI" topped sophomore-session holdovers, falling 61% from its opening grosses to $5.6 million in fifth place with a $22.8 million cume.

Summit Entertainment's animated feature "Astro Boy" declined 54% from its first frame to register $3 million in an eighth-place tie with Fox Searchlight's expanding Hilary Swank starrer "Amelia." "Boy" cume climbed to $10.9 million, while "Amelia" reached $8.3 million after adding 250 playdates for a total of 1,070.

Universal's John C. Reilly starrer "Cirque due Freak: The Vampire's Assistant" slid 55% from opening grosses for $2.8 million in 10th place, with a $10.5 million cume

The weekend top 10 collectively rung up $74.1 million, or 7% more than top performers in the same frame last year, according to Nielsen EDI.

Elsewhere this weekend, Sony Pictures Classics' well-reviewed drama "An Education" added 17 theaters for a total og 48 and grossed $504,831, or a smart $10,517 per venue, with a $1.6 million cume. And IFC Films expanded its Danish drama "Antichrist" by eight locations for a total of 14 and grossed $50,400, or an acceptable $3,600 per site, with cume of $157,606.



"This Is It" contains film footage of Jackson's rehearsals, interviews with associates of the late singer and backstage scenes from preparations for what would have been his monthlong concert extravaganza in London. After Jackson's death June 25, AEG Entertainment announced plans for the doc, which was directed by "High School Musical" helmer Kenny Ortega.

"It definitely played well here, but we knocked it out of the park worldwide," Sony distribution president Rory Bruer said. "It exceeded our expectations, without a doubt."

"This Is It" bowed simultaneously in 97 foreign territories, where it rung up $68.5 million through Sunday.

Critics' reviews of the pic have been largely favorable.

"Kenny Ortega did an amazing job directing this film," Bruer said. "He and Michael put together an amazing group of musicians and dancers, and the film really does give you a rare opportunity to see his genius at work."

Opening audiences skewed 51% female, with 62% of patrons aged 25 or older. Preoccupation with Halloween activities may have sapped some of the pic's domestic strength on Saturday, which marked a modest downtick from Friday grosses.

Sony included Tuesday night grosses for "This Is It" -- totaling $2.2 million, with midnight coin -- into the pic's Wednesday boxoffice. The studio acquired worldwide distribution rights to the film for $60 million.

Looking ahead, four pics are tagged for wide release Friday: Disney's 3D animated feature "A Christmas Carol," Warner Bros.' Cameron Diaz starrer "The Box," Universal's sci-fi thriller "The Fourth Kind" and Overture's George Clooney-toplined "The Men Who Stare at Goats."
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