Hints of Light at the End of the Michael Jackson Mourning Tunnel

It's been four long months we've spent mourning the death of the self-anointed King, a life of pr exploitation which segued beautifully into an afterlife of pr exploitation. But at last it seems the parade might be winding down.

For some there was the fear that the release of This Is It, the documentary of rehearsals for the MJ concert that wasn't, might not mark the end of our mourning period but in fact kick it up to the next level. But it seems our fears were for naught. The first reviews and grosses are in and across the board the over-the-top ecstasy level falls far short of what would be needed to fuel a second era of posthumous excitement.

First the grosses: $2.2 million for a Tuesday night opening isn't at all bad, but it's not the kind of number that sets entertainment on fire either, especially in light of the fact that this film's opening has been more hyped than the first salvos of the Iraq war. "A record for an October Tuesday" Variety calls it, which is basically akin to the Best Garden Salad at Hardees award.

At Hitfix, Greg Ellwood writes of the early dollars:

Many of Jackson's fans showed up last night to pay tribute to their fallen idol at late night and midnight screenings, but it only resulted in $2.2 million in ticket sales. In comparison, summer blockbusters Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen found $16 million and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince set the record for midnight screenings with $22.2 million. Obviously, there is a hug gap there between the summer releases and an October opener like "This Is It," but considering the hype it's actually a tad disappointing.

This Is It could do anywhere from $10-15 million today, but the question will be how it plays through the Halloween weekend. That may make the $60 million plus weekend some were predicting somewhat of a reach.

As for the reviews, those who can be counted upon to gush, have gushed. Roger Ebert calls it "an extraordinary documentary" saying the footage proves that Jackson was sane, in control, generous, kind, visionary....

Other more level heads however have pointed out have pointed out that this rehearsal footage offers a very circumscribed, controlled look at Jackson, leaving much unsaid and unquestioned.

Overall Metacritc gives This Is It a fairly not It score of 62, while Rotten Tomatoes tracks the film at a good, but not stellar 81 percent positive rating.

Dare we to dream that this could, in face, be it?