Britney Spears' "In the Zone" entered the nation's pop album chart at No. 1 on Wednesday after selling 609,000 copies during its first week in the stores, while Michael Jackson's latest greatest-hits package finished No. 13, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Spears' figure was less than half the 1.3 million copies that her "Oops! ... I Did It Again" generated in its first week during the height of her teen-pop success in 2000, but it was still impressive in a year when only three other albums achieved greater first-week figures.
Those albums are rapper 50 Cent's "Get Rich or Die Tryin' " (872,000 copies), Linkin Park's "Meteora" (810,000) and Clay Aiken's "Measure of a Man" (613,000).
"Zone" was one of six new releases that entered the Top 20 on Wednesday. The other albums were by Blink-182 (No. 3 with 313,000 sales), the Beatles (a revised version of the group's 1970 "Let It Be" album finished No. 5 with 280,000), Michael Jackson (No. 13 with 121,000), the Dave Matthews Band (No. 14 with 111,000) and Korn (No. 19 with 96,000).
Jackson's third hits collection in eight years was released Nov. 18, the same day Santa Barbara authorities issued a warrant for the singer's arrest on child molestation charges.
Based on first-day sales, retailers had expected the album to sell 85,000 to 100,000 copies.