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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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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