To the surprise of probably nobody, Michael Jackson's "This Is It" will debut atop the Billboard 200 albums chart released today (Nov. 4) with an eye-popping 373,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan -- the fifth-best sales week for an album in the U.S. this year.
The companion album to the musical documentary film of the same name is Jackson's sixth No. 1 on the tally and it arrives with his best sales frame for an album since 1995's "HIStory" started atop the Billboard 200 with 391,000 copies.
Jackson collected his first No. 1 with "Thriller" in 1983 and later notched toppers with "Bad," "Dangerous," "HIStory" and "Invincible." Earlier this year, Jackson also notched a No. 1 on the Top Comprehensive Albums and Top Pop Catalog Albums charts with the 2003 greatest hits set "Number Ones."
The "This Is It" film bowed with late-night showings on Tuesday, Oct. 27, before rolling out wide the following day. Through Monday, Nov. 2, the film had collected $36.9 million at the box office in the U.S. and Canada. It's already the second-highest grossing musical concert film in the U.S. and Canada behind "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour" ($65.3 million).
"This Is It" is one of five albums to arrive in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 chart this week. The second-best debut comes from a reunited Creed, which sees its "Full Circle" enter at No. 2 with 110,000 copies. It's the band's first studio release since way back in 2001, when its "Weathered" started at No. 1 with 887,000 in its first week.
Taylor Swift's "Fearless" flies from No. 7 last week to No. 3 this week with 109,000 and a big 225% gain. The set was reissued in a "platinum" deluxe edition last week, with numerous additional bonus tracks and a DVD.
Rod Stewart's latest covers set, "Soulbook," sings out at No. 4 in its first week, starting with 84,000 while Trans-Siberian Orchestra bows at a career-high No. 5 with its new effort, "Night Castle." Sting's holiday-esque album "If On A Winter's Night" rings in the season at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 with 80,000 copies. It also reaches No. 1 on our Top Holiday Albums chart.
Last week's Billboard 200 No. 1, "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" soundtrack slips to No. 8 with 69,000 copies (down 55%), while Michael Buble's "Crazy Love" falls from No. 3 to No. 7 with 71,000 (down 30%). Last week's biggest debut, Tim McGraw's "Southern Voice," falls from No. 2 to No. 9 with 59,000 (down 57%). Rounding out the top 10 is Jay-Z's "The Blueprint 3," which slides six places to No. 10 with 41,000 (down 5%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Nov. 1) totaled 6.31 million units, up 10% compared to the sum last week (5.72 million) and down 9% compared to the same sales week of 2008 (6.96 million). Year to date album sales stand at 287.6 million, down 13% compared to the same total at this point last year (332.3 million).