Michael Jackson film 'This Is It' premieres for fans and stars around the world
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
Wednesday, October 28th 2009, 4:00 AM
Savulich, Andrew New York DailyJordan Neely (right) and Moses Harper rock with Michael Jackson-like energy in Times Square at Tuesday night's New York premiere of the King of Pop documentary 'This Is It.'
'This Is It' premieres in New York, Los Angeles and around the world.
It was off the wall!
Dueling premieres on both coasts and sold-out theaters around the world marked Tuesday night's debut of Michael Jackson's super-hyped documentary "This Is It."
Fans of the King of Pop turned out in sequins, some doing impromptu moonwalks, as they clamored for theater seats to watch the late icon's swan song.
"He means everything to me," said Jordan Neely, 16, of Washington Heights, wearing a single sequined glove, matching jacket and fedora in honor of the music legend.
"When he died, it was one of the saddest days since 9/11. I just want to see him do it one more time," said Jordan, one of over a 3,000 fans attending the premiere at the Regal Cinema on 42nd St. and Eighth Ave. in Times Square.
Oprah Winfrey's sidekick, Gayle King, was among a roster of stars attending the New York premiere, including Ice-T, Spike Lee, Russell Simmons.
"The main thing you get out of the movie is that the dude was still very much alive," said Ice-T. "It was a cold shot, man. You gotta see it for yourself."
Sherri Sheppard of "The View" agreed.
"It was great. He looked so alive," she said, adding that it's a shame her 4-year-old son will never know who Michael Jackson is.
King said she was compelled to attend "because it's history."
"I loved Michael's music and I can't wait to see the genius that is Michael Jackson," King said.
In Los Angeles, celebrities including "American Idol" winner David Cook, Mickey Rooney, Jennifer Lopez, Will Smith and Paris Hilton strolled the red carpet in front of the Nokia Theatre.
"We've been Michael Jackson fans for a long time," said the 89-year-old Rooney, standing with his wife, Jan. "Everybody who came out tonight came out of respect."
The 111-minute film was culled from 120 hours of footage of Jackson preparing for his comeback shows at London's O2 Arena.
Sony Pictures paid $60 million for the right to distribute the movie, which is expected to gross over $250 million in its first week.
Jackson died at age 50 on June 25 from a prescription drug overdose, just days before his first concert.
"This movie is unguarded, it's real, it's raw and honest," insisted the film's director, Kenny Ortega. "You see Michael not always in perfect situations, going through the process of creating a show, and sometimes it's painful."
Famed lawyer Thomas Mesereau, who successfully defended Jackson in 2005 against child molestation charges, was on hand in L.A. to pay homage to "a true genius."
"I'm here to see one of the greatest performers of all time," Mesereau said.
Premieres were simultaneously held in 16 cities around the world, including London, Berlin and Seol, Korea.
Miko Brando, son of screen legend Marlon Brando and one of Jackson's closest friends, attended the London premiere and said the film showed a resurgent Jackson.
"This was just rehearsing," said Brando, who saw the movie at a special screening over the weekend with Elizabeth Taylor. "You can only imagine what it would've been like if he had performed like this on stage."
Asked how Taylor reacted, he said: "She didn't tell me anything - we just enjoyed the movie together. It's a great performance by my best friend."
Taylor reportedly described "This Is It" as the single best piece of filmmaking she had ever seen, according to Larry King.
"Sure - I guess she took the words out of my mouth. I agree with her 100 percent," said Brando.
Chucky Klapow, 29, one of the dancers in "This is It," fondly recalled his last rehearsal with Jackson and lamented not being able to perform with him in front of a live audience.
"You can only imagine what the real show would have been," said Klapow outside the Nokia. "He was ready and strong."
LINK TO PHOTO GALLERY OF THIS IS IT FROM AROUNG THE WORLD: