Beijing - Fans in China cheered the world premier of the documentary film of Michael Jackson's final concert rehearsals on Wednesday, but there were also tears. The movie, This Is It, was shown minutes after midnight at cinemas across the vast country, hours before it was due to open around the rest of the world.
"We are the first," said a proud salesgirl at the box office of the Megabox Cinema in Beijing.
"He lives on," said a 22-year old Chinese fan of the former king of pop in the capital, where the audience broke out in spontaneous applause and cries of "bravo".
Some fans were in tears at the end of the almost two-hour film, but others left the cinema in a jubilant mood.
In Shenyang, in the northeast Chinese province of Liaoning, a cinema showing the movie also organized a dance competition for fans emulating Jackson's Moonwalk.
The movie, by director Kenny Ortega, was shot in Los Angeles, where a gala premier was to be held later Wednesday. It was made while Jackson was preparing in the weeks and days before his death for a comeback concert tour starting in London.
The film contains footage of Jackson on stage, performing his famous dance routines and singing some of his greatest hits. Mixed in with scenes from the rehearsals were videos to be used as background for the concert tour.
Jackson shocked the world when he died on June 25 from a drug overdose caused by an anaesthetic injected by his personal physician, who is now under investigation for causing his death.