LOS ANGELES Sally Rubio and dozens of Michael Jackson fans were among the first to line up for "This Is It" tickets.
The winding queue for tickets to the first public screenings of the documentary opened late Thursday afternoon in the courtyard outside the Nokia Theatre at the L.A. Live complex in downtown Los Angeles. The film features a behind-the-scenes look at Jackson preparing for the series of London shows he was rehearsing for before he died June 25.
"I've never done something like this in my life," said Rubio, 53, "but M.J. is worth it."
Tickets for the advance shows aren't scheduled to go on sale until early Sunday morning, meaning Rubio and her fellow devotees may spend days in line. The first 500 fans in line have been promised commemorative lenticular tickets designed by Jackson for the London concerts at the O2 Arena, another reason Rubio was motivated to wait in line for over 48 hours.
"I heard they are very beautiful," she said.
A total of 3,000 movie tickets will be available for the early Oct. 27 shows at L.A. Live's new Regal Cinemas Stadium 14, marking the movie theater's grand opening. It's the only screening location offering the advance shows and commemorative tickets. "This Is It" will begin its limited, two-week run at movie theaters nationwide on Oct. 28.
The Sony Pictures film, crafted from hundred hours of rehearsal footage, is directed by longtime Jackson collaborator Kenny Ortega, the "High School Musical" director who had been working with Jackson on the "This Is It" concerts. The movie will feature Jackson rehearsing a number of his songs for the show as well as interviews with his friends and family.
Several of the fans who arrived when the line opened Friday brought chairs one per person and umbrellas for the long wait ahead of them. AEG, which operates the L.A. Live complex and organized the Jackson concerts, said that no tents, alcohol, cooking or boom boxes were permitted in line. Onsite monitors would issue passes for restroom and food breaks.
"It was a last-minute decision," said Trudy Miles, who was waiting in line with her daughters. "We were getting ready to go to the park, and my daughter texted me and told me the tickets were going on sell today. We were going to see it at the theater near our house, but we thought this would be special, so we loaded up the car with stuff and came down here."