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While Michael Jackson's "This Is It" concert tour was supposed to mark a major comeback for the singer, Sony's documentary represents a comeback of a different sort: a return to the kind of movie event that Hollywood was once known for. On Tuesday night, Sony Pictures and Sony Music held 18 nearly simultaneous preems around the world, with the biggest bash--in Los Angeles' downtown L.A. Live complex--sending a satellite simulcast to the other 17.
Meanwhile, "This Is It" events were held in an additional 15 cities.
The global preem was held Tuesday in order to line up with foreign territories' usual opening days--films typically bow on Wednesdays in France, for example. The 6 p.m. Tuesday start time in Los Angeles translated to 2 a.m. Wednesday over most of Europe, meaning thousands of fans flocked to screenings in the middle of the night.
The film is playing in roughly 3,500 theaters domestically. It opened in 99 countries including the U.S. and Canada, and expands to 110 territories around the world, with 15,000 prints, this weekend. Plans are for a two-week run.
Sony already is starting to generate big returns for the $60 …