This Is It makes history - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

This Is It makes history

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by Kareen Wynter      

For Michael Jackson fans, today is a thriller. That's because the pop star's documentary-- This Is It-- premieres around the world today. It includes hours of never before seen rehearsal footage of Jackson in action.

Last night, fans in Los Angeles got a sneak peek. When the king of pop died suddenly on June 25th, countless variables were thrown into question, including what to do with more than 50 hours of rehearsal  footage shot for his sold out London concert dates.

An all out bidding war resulted with Sony pictures entertainment paying a whopping 60 million dollars for the right to turn the video into "Michael Jackson's "This is It"-- a behind-the-scenes documentary style film of the Singer's last days on stage.

"Tonight means everything. The whole tragic thing was, is just a big build up. But this is going to show the humane side to him and to show people what he was  prepared to do," said Jermaine Jackson.

"It's an important movie to see because even though Michael would never want anyone to see him half-way rehearsed, but he gave full out even during rehearsals, every single one of them," said Paula Abdul. "Absolutely no body doubles and it's all Michael and it's unguarded and raw and  real and he's beautiful," said Kenny Ortega.

From director Kenny Ortega to Jackson's brothers, those closest to the late Superstar are all on hand for this historic event.  Immediately following the packed screening, crowds of Jackson fans, friends and  family made their way to the exclusive after party.

"Michael really would have loved the response that the audience gave, they laughed in places that I didn't think they were going to laugh and cried and applauded, it was wonderful," said Michael Bearden. "It's very hard for me at times, that's why I keep this with me at all times."  

"It's a token of my brother, I keep it with me at all times. This is MJ right here," said Jackie Jackson.

And despite the rave reviews, the film has still received some criticism, including some of family members' concern about this is something Michael would have wanted the world to see him on this type of stage, doing Dry runs. 

But for one night, at least, none of that seemed to matter.