European fans applaud, shed tears at Michael Jackson film
Oct 28, 2009, 15:37 GMT
A man dressed as Michael Jackson arrives for the Michael Jackson premiere \'This Is It\' held at the Odeon Leicester Square in Central London, Britain, 27 October 2009. EPA/DANIEL DEME
Berlin - Michael Jackson fans gave an emotional reception to the movie of the final days of the singer's life, but there were also tears at screenings across Europe early Wednesday.
In London, where Jackson was to have launched his comeback tour, fans emerged moved and shaken from the premiere at the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square.
Duncan James, who hosted the pre-premiere entertainment show at the cinema, said the footage showed that Jackson had been ready to perform live for the first time in years and was in full control of the show's preparations.
'He was a genius, an inspiration to many artists who will watch that film,' he said.
'It was amazing. I'm so emotional after seeing that. I just wish I could have been there to see him live. I wish I could have seen that on stage,' said Ashiq Baluch, 21.
Maria Economou said watching the film had brought a mixture of emotions but added: 'It was beautiful to see Michael perform and to see how human he was.'
Director Kenny Ortega's two-hour documentary, This Is It, contained footage of Jackson's final concert rehearsals in Los Angeles, where the film's gala premiere was held.
When the movie finally hit the screen shortly after 2 am (0100 GMT) in Germany, fans applauded throughout and sang along to some of the singer's most famous songs.
A few fans also shed tears during screenings of the film in Berlin and in Hamburg, where only 90 fans turned up, far fewer than expected.
'It's great that Michael Jackson was able to celebrate his comeback on the big screen. But I'm also sad that it's the last time we'll see him,' said a 20-year-old fan in Berlin.
Not everyone was happy, though.
'I had a date with a girl to see the film, but she stood me up,' said a disappointed 14-year-old Hamburg schoolboy.
Jackson shocked the world when he died on June 25 from a drug overdose caused by an anaesthetic. His personal physician is now under investigation for administering the drug to Jackson.
Hundreds of fans lined up outside the Grand Rex theatre in central Paris many hours before the doors opened for the French premiere of This Is It.
One young woman told France Info radio she had waited more than 20 hours to have a chance for a good seat.
Inside fans danced, applauded and finally wept when the film ended. But the party did not end then, as music from the film was broadcast outside the theatre and dozens of people took to dancing in the streets.
In Switzerland, where the film opened at 3 am, some 400 fans attended a showing in Lausanne, and 750 saw it in Zurich.
'People applauded after each song, there was an excellent atmosphere,' the director of the Lausanne theatre complex Teodor Teodorescu told the Swiss News Agency, which also reported sightings of local celebrities in the crowds.
The official premiere took place at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, where Jackson's public memorial was held. Other premieres took place simultaneously in Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Hungary, South Korea, Norway, Peru, Poland, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Uruguay, Britain and New York City.
An exhibition of Jackson's personal belongings and costumes opens to the public in London on Wednesday.
Michael Jackson, The Official Exhibition, can be seen at the 02 Arena in the docklands of east London where Jackson's This Is It mammoth concert series would have been held.