Mixed Outlook For Michael Jackson Album Sales

In this handout photo provided by AEG/Concerts West Michael Jackson and choreographer/director Kenny Ortega rehearse for the 'This Is It' tour on May 6, 2009 in Burbank, California.
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The newFILM GENERATES MORE HYPE

"This Is It" goes on sale in most of the world on Monday and in North America from Tuesday, the eve of the eagerly anticipated movie of the same name.

The film features footage of Jackson rehearsing for his planned residency at London's O2 Arena, which was to have been his farewell to live performance after years of living as a virtual recluse.

The film, released by Sony's Columbia Pictures, could make more than $600 million in its limited two-week run, industry executives have predicted. The album, however, is unlikely to create the same buzz.

Its cause was not helped by a PR fiasco earlier this month when the pop star's first posthumous single "This Is It," which appears on the album, turned out to be an old song recorded 18 years ago by an obscure Puerto Rican singer.

The co-author of that tune threatened to sue Jackson's estate and he was quickly granted 50 percent of the copyright.

There have also been negative early reviews, with Britain's Independent newspaper giving the record one star out of five and calling it "a shoddy apology for an album."

In Britain, retailers said "This Is It" looked destined to become one of the big albums of the key Christmas period, but there were factors that could dampen demand.

"At the time of his death the response was very emotional," said Gennaro Castaldo, spokesman for the HMV music retail chain.

"But there is a question as to whether that is as potent this time around. There is not that emotional intensity."

This Is It also goes on sale at around the same time as albums by other popular artists, including Cheryl Cole ("3 Words") and Robbie Williams ("Reality Killed the Video Star").

"This Is It," released by Sony Music, includes Jackson hits like "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," "Thriller" and "Beat It" and two versions (original and orchestral) of "This Is It."

It also features demo versions of "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," "She's Out of My Life" and "Beat It" as well as a poem entitled "Planet Earth." Sony Pictures and Sony Music are units of Sony Corp.

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