Plenty of Michael Jackson fans turned out for "This Is It" on Wednesday, but Sony Pictures may have to wait until Friday to find out whether the movie is a "Thriller" or "Bad" at the box office.
The documentary, a gamble for Sony that was assembled from more than 100 hours of video footage and rushed to the big screen after the singer's death in June, sold $2.2 million worth of tickets domestically at late-night screenings Tuesday, the studio reported.
According to industry executives who have been monitoring box-office returns, "This Is It" was on track as of Wednesday evening to collect $10 million to $12 million by the end of the day. A Sony spokesman declined to comment.
Comparisons with other movies are difficult, given that only two major films have been released in recent history by studios on a Wednesday outside of summer or the holidays. "The Passion of the Christ," a phenomenon that benefited from group purchases by churches, grossed $26.6 million in February 2004, and "The Matrix Revolutions," the third movie in a blockbuster trilogy, collected $24.3 million on its opening Wednesday in November 2003.