Tuesday, September 29, 2009

'Michael Jackson's This Is It' Ticket Sales Break International Records

Sep 29 2009 9:09 AM EDT

'Michael Jackson's This Is It' Ticket Sales Break International Records
Documentary has sold out hundreds of screenings across U.S. a month before its release.
By Gil Kaufman

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Even in death, Michael Jackson continues to be a guaranteed superstar. Just as the initial run of his planned concerts at the O2 arena in London sold out almost instantly earlier this year, the posthumous documentary about the King of Pop's preparations for that residency, "Michael Jackson's This Is It," has broken advance ticket sales records for a movie.

According to Reuters, hundreds of screenings in North America have already sold out, a month before the film's October 28 opening.

Among the cities with the strongest sales are Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston and New York. Records were also set in Japan, where more than $1 million in tickets were sold on the first day they were available. In London, fans bought more than 30,000 tickets on the first day, eclipsing the advance interest in the "Harry Potter" and "The Lord of the Rings" films, which were wildly popular in Britain. Record sales were also reported in Holland, Sweden, Belgium and New Zealand.

The documentary will have a limited two-week run, which might explain the rush on tickets. On Sunday, all 3,000 spots for a Los Angeles advance screening of "This Is It" on October 27 sold out within two hours.

The film follows Jackson as he rehearsed and prepared for a 50-date run of concerts, which were scheduled to begin in London just weeks after his death on June 25. Sony Pictures Entertainment paid $60 million for the more than 100 hours of hi-def rehearsal footage. The film, which was directed by Kenny Ortega, will feature behind-the-scenes footage as well as Jackson and his band and dancers rehearsing for the tour.

Last week, it was confirmed that a two-disc album featuring a new song, "This Is It," will be released on October 27 to coincide with the movie's theatrical release. The new single drops on October 12.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Michael Jackson - Bio and early Life

1958–75: Early life and The Jackson 5

Michael Joseph Jackson was born August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana (an industrial suburb of Chicago) to a working-class family.[6] The son of African-American parents Joseph Walter "Joe" Jackson and Katherine Esther (née Scruse),[6] he was the seventh of nine children. His siblings are Rebbie, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, La Toya, Marlon, Randy and Janet.[6] Joseph Jackson was a steel mill employee who often performed in an R&B band called The Falcons with his brother Luther. Jackson was raised as a Jehovah's Witness by his devout mother.[6]

Jackson said that he was physically and emotionally abused by his father from a young age, enduring incessant rehearsals, whippings and name-calling. However, he also credited his father's strict discipline as playing a large part in his success.[7][8] In one altercation—later recalled by Marlon Jackson—Joseph held Michael upside down by one leg and "pummeled him over and over again with his hand, hitting him on his back and buttocks".[9] Joseph would also trip or push his male children into walls. One night while Jackson was asleep, Joseph climbed into his room through the bedroom window. Wearing a fright mask, he entered the room screaming and shouting. Joseph said he wanted to teach his children not to leave the window open when they went to sleep. For years afterwards, Jackson said he suffered nightmares about being kidnapped from his bedroom.[9] In 2003, Joseph admitted to the BBC that he had whipped Jackson as a child.[10]

Jackson first spoke openly about his childhood abuse in a 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey. He said that during his childhood he often cried from loneliness and would sometimes start to vomit upon seeing his father.[11][12][13][14] In Jackson's other high profile interview, Living with Michael Jackson (2003), the singer covered his face with his hand and began crying when talking about his childhood abuse.[9] Jackson recalled that Joseph sat in a chair with a belt in his hand as he and his siblings rehearsed and that "if you didn't do it the right way, he would tear you up, really get you".[15]

Jackson showed musical talent early in his life, performing in front of classmates and others during a Christmas recital at the age of five.[6] In 1964, Jackson and Marlon joined the Jackson Brothers—a band formed by brothers Jackie, Tito and Jermaine—as backup musicians playing congas and tambourine, respectively. Jackson later began performing backup vocals and dancing; at the age of eight, he and Jermaine assumed lead vocals, and the group's name was changed to The Jackson 5.[6] The band toured the Midwest extensively from 1966 to 1968. The band frequently performed at a string of black clubs and venues collectively known as the "chitlin' circuit", where they often opened for stripteases and other adult acts. In 1966, they won a major local talent show with renditions of Motown hits and James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)", led by Michael.[16]

The Jackson 5 recorded several songs, including "Big Boy", for the local record label Steeltown in 1967 and signed with Motown Records in 1968.[6] Rolling Stone magazine later described the young Michael as "a prodigy" with "overwhelming musical gifts", noting that Michael "quickly emerged as the main draw and lead singer" after he began to dance and sing with his brothers.[17] The group set a chart record when its first four singles ("I Want You Back", "ABC", "The Love You Save" and "I'll Be There") peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.[6] During The Jackson 5's early years, Motown's public relations team claimed that Jackson was nine years old—two years younger than he actually was—to make him appear cuter and more accessible to the mainstream audience.[18] Starting in 1972, Jackson released a total of four solo studio albums with Motown, among them Got to Be There and Ben. These were released as part of the Jackson 5 franchise, and produced successful singles such as "Got to Be There", "Ben" and a remake of Bobby Day's "Rockin' Robin". The group's sales began declining in 1973, and the band members chafed under Motown's strict refusal to allow them creative control or input.[19] Although the group scored several top 40 hits, including the top 5 disco single "Dancing Machine" and the top 20 hit "I Am Love", the Jackson 5 left Motown in 1975.[19]