The new Michael Jackson record "This Is It" hits stores around the world on Monday, kicking off a week of money-spinning events dedicated to the "king of pop," but the outlook for the two-disc album is decidedly mixed.

Experts predict that it will top charts in several key countries, most notably the biggest U.S. market, but with album sales in seemingly terminal decline, even relatively modest returns can secure the coveted number one slot.

The fact that fans have bought nearly six million Jackson albums in that country alone since the singer died suddenly in June of a prescription drug overdose is likely to temper demand for what is essentially another greatest hits collection.

Much depends on whether millions of people expected to flock to the accompanying "This Is It" movie, which hits theatres on Wednesday, feel moved to buy the record too, experts said.

"It's very hard to pinpoint what it will do, particularly due to the fact that a lot of these songs have already sold well this year," said Silvio Pietroluongo, director of charts at Billboard magazine which compiles the weekly rankings.

"Talking to the labels and industry insiders there is a huge sweep of opinion of anywhere between 200-300,000 and 500,000 albums sold in the first week," he told Reuters.

Pietroluongo predicted that should be enough to guarantee Jackson another Billboard number one in the United States.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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