Saturday night: Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” –’ is it a hit or a flop?

Let’s put it this way. As a documentary, it’s on track to be the third-largest-grossing doc in history. It will finish this weekend in the $30 million-plus category. That puts it behind Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 911″ and “Earth.” At No. 3, it will be ahead of Moore’s other films, as well as Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” and Madonna’s “Truth or Dare.”

Forget about highest-grossing weekends, or Wednesdays in October. In the end, only the total number will matter.

As a music concert film, “This Is It” slides into second place, all time, right behind “Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour.” No. 3 would be a film about the Jonas Brothers, which made just less than $20 million total.

I’d say “This Is It” is a hit, based on those numbers. It could finish this weekend with between $30 million and $32 million domestically. Internationally, the number could turn out to be equal.

I will say that one of Sony’s biggest mistakes was not showing the film to the press in advance. The only word-of-mouth they built was on supposition. Instead of trusting that they had something good, the studio acted out of fear. The result was that this reviewer, like so many, had to write the review while watching the film. The reviews came out as the film arrived, without any quotes or anything to prime the part of the public that was skeptical or didn’t care.

Meantime, Sony Music predicts that the “This Is It” CD sold around 300,000 copies in its first week. The numbers come in on Monday. Not bad considering it only has two new tracks on it and consists otherwise of greatest hits that have already been sold and resold twice in the last four months.

The “This Is It” DVD will hit stores Jan. 20, just in case anyone’s interested in the actual date instead of guessing.

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