The 3-D documentary "One Direction: This Is Us" is going to be the world's highest-grossing documentary of 2013, based on sales trends for the movie's advance ticket sales. According to Fandango (which sells movie tickets) on Aug. 23, 2013 (exactly one week before the movie opens in the U.S. and Canada), "One Direction: This Is Us" was the only unreleased movie in Fandango's Top 10 ticket sales.
Meanwhile, critics' early reviews of the movie have been mixed, with most of the critics saying that "One Direction: This Is Us" has enjoyable moments and makes good use of 3-D visuals in the concert scenes, but overall the movie is bland and predictable. (See a sampling of critics' reviews at the end of this article.) Critics' reviews will make very little difference in the movie's ticket sales, as One Direction fans are extremely devoted and are making this movie a hit, based on advance ticket sales.
"One Direction: This Is Us" (directed by Morgan Spurlock) opens in the U.K. on Aug. 29, 2013 and in the U.S. and Canada on Aug. 30, 2013. The movie's release dates in other countries may vary.
Ticket sales for "One Direction: This Is Us" are largely outpacing ticket sales for RADiUS-TWC's "20 Feet From Stardom," a music documentary about backup singers for superstar artists. Up until "One Direction: This Is Us" came along, "20 Feet From Stardom" was the highest-grossing documentary in the U.S. in 2013, with $4 million in ticket sales so far, according to Box Office Mojo. "One Direction: This Is Us" is easily going to make more than $4 million on its opening day in the U.S. and Canada.
"One Direction: This Is Us" is opening in about 2,500 cinemas in the U.S. and Canada. The other new movie opening wide in U.S. and Canada on the same day (Aug. 30, 2013) is Warner Bros. Pictures' "Getaway" (a thriller starring Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez), which is opening in about 2,000 cinemas in the U.S. and Canada. "One Direction: This Is Us" is expected to surpass "Getaway" in opening-weekend ticket sales. However, it remains to be seen which movie will have more staying power in the long run.
"One Direction: This Is Us" is expected to be a bigger hit than 2011's "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never," another 3-D documentary. "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" was the highest-grossing documentary of 2011, with $73 million in ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada. It remains to be seen if "One Direction: This Is Us" will have more than $100 million in ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada. The most recent movie to achieve this milestone was Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," which had $119 million in U.S./Canadian ticket sales in 2004. But "One Direction: This Is Us" should easily have more $100 million in total ticket sales worldwide when the total numbers are counted before the movie is released on home video.
As previously reported, One Direction and Spurlock were among the attendees of the world premiere of "One Direction: This Is Us" in London on Aug. 20, 2013. According to the Daily Mirror, about 7,000 fans flocked to the movie's premiere in Leicester Square, where the movie screened at the Empire cinema.
Other "X Factor" stars in attendance included "The X Factor" executive producer Simon Cowell (who is one of the producers of "One Direction: This Is Us"), Dermot O'Leary ("The X Factor" U.K. host), Little Mix (winner of "The X Factor" U.K. in 2011), Amelia Lily (third place on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2011), JLS (second place on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2008), Diana Vickers (fourth place on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2008) and Kye Sones (eighth place on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2012).
Other celebrities who were at the event included Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, Tanya Burr, Conor Maynard, Laura Whitmore, Rochelle Humes of the Saturdays, McFly, Ulrika Jonsson, David Seaman, Lilah Parsons, Sinitta, Amir Khan and Scott Mills.
Various family members of One Direction were also in attendance.
Little Mix's Perrie Edwards and One Direction's Zayn Malik have been dating since April 2012. They were each other's date for the evening, as previously reported. One Direction's Louis Tomlinson brought girlfriend Eleanor Calder as his date. Calder (who is a student at the University of Manchester) and Tomlinson have been dating since late 2011. One Direction's Liam Payne brought his girlfriend Sophia Smith to the premiere; the couple began dating in the summer of 2013.
On Aug. 20, 2013, the Daily Mirror reported that One Direction's Niall Horan has been dating singer Ellie Goulding, but she was not at the movie premiere.
Yahoo!, which was at the movie's London premiere, streamed the event live and did interviews with the five members of One Direction on the red carpet. Yahoo! is also doing a live Webcast of the movie's New York City premiere on Aug. 26, 2013, beginning at 5:30 p.m. EDT.
On Aug. 19, 2013, One Direction and director Spurlock held a press conference in London to promote "One Direction: This Is Us." They will also have a press conference in New York City on Aug. 24, 2013.
As previously reported, the U.S. cities that are getting advance screenings of the 3-D documentary "One Direction: This Is Us" have been announced. Several cities in the U.S. are getting advance screenings on Aug. 27, 2013, based on the metropolitan areas that had the most responses in an online contest.
"One Direction: This Is Us" chronicles One Direction's rapid rise to fame and fortune, from being created on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2010 to becoming the biggest-selling worldwide act from "The X Factor" by 2012 to having a sold-out world tour again in 2013.
As previously reported, One Direction is set to attend the New York City premiere of the movie on Aug. 26, 2013. While in New York City, One Direction performed on NBC's "Today" (on Aug. 23, 2013) and is a nominee and presenter at the MTV Video Music Awards (on Aug. 25, 2013). One Direction's "Best Song Ever" is nominated for Best Song of the Summer at the MTV Video Music Awards. One Direction is also set to perform on NBC's "America's Got Talent" on Aug. 28, 2013.
As previously reported, there were free sneak previews of "One Direction: This Is Us" in New York City and Los Angeles on Aug. 3, 2013.
The sneak previews/advance screenings on Aug. 27, 2013 are not free. Tickets can be purchased here.
Here are the cities and cineplexes that are hosting the sneak previews on Aug. 27, 2013:
(All of these screenings are at 7 p.m. local time.)
Atlanta — AMC Phipps Plaza 14
Cincinnati — Cinemark Oakley
Concord, N.C. — AMC Concord Mills
Davie, Fla. — Cinemark Paradise 24 and XD
Louisville, Ky. — Cinemark Tinseltown USA and XD
Miami — Cobb Dolphin 19 & IMAX
Noblesville, Ind. — Goodrich Hamilton 16 IMAX
West Homestead, Pa. — AMC Loews Waterfront 22
In addition, Sony Pictures Entertainment's TriStar Pictures has announced several promotions leading up to the release of "One Direction: This Is Us."
The lineup of fan-driven activities includes:
Trailer Remix – Fans can create their own fun-packed trailer for the movie and become 1D editors! The Remix Tool, powered by WeVideo, includes such One Direction songs as "Little Things" and "Live While We're Young" as well as video and sound effects from the original trailer. Once fans create their own Trailer Remix, they are able to share it on the film's YouTube page as well as with their friends via social networks. www.bit.ly/1DTrailerRemix.
Shazam "Global Scavenger Hunt" – Starting Aug. 22, 2013, fans embark on an exciting scavenger hunt to unlock an exclusive clip from the movie before it can be seen in theaters. Clues, which will be issued through various One Direction songs, can be found by using the popular Shazam App.
Spotify "Global Listening Party" – For one special hour on Aug. 25, 2013, fans across the globe will come together for a once-in-a-lifetime listening party to celebrate the release of "One Direction: This Is Us." The listening party will be hosted on Spotify and feature exclusive movie content from the band. RSVP to the event now: www.bit.ly/1DSpotifyParty
Fandango's "One Decade of Movie Tickets Sweepstakes" and "1D3D" Gift Cards – Celebrating the release of "One Direction: This Is Us," Sony Pictures Entertainment and Fandango will team up to offer moviegoers the incredible opportunity to win One Decade worth of movie tickets for participating Fandango theaters. The sweepstakes starts Aug.12, 2013. See Fandango for details on the sweeps and official rules. Advance tickets for the film are now on sale on Fandango at www.fandango.com/1D
Extended Preview – An extended preview from the movie will run in front of "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" when it is in theaters Aug. 21, 2013, one week before the release of "One Direction: This Is Us."
World U.K. Premiere and U.S. Premiere Webcasts – Both premieres will be streamed live online for fans around the world to join in on the big events.
Here is a sampling of critics' reviews of "One Direction: This Is Us":
"It is definitely a film made for the fans so if you prefer Iron Maiden, this probably isn’t one for you. The glossy documentary takes fans back to the beginning where - dodgy hair cuts aside - you reminisce about how it all started for the boys back in 2010 on the X Factor. Simon Cowell makes a fleeting appearance and tries to explain the phenomenon behind 1D. And fails. 'These girls are crazy about One Direction and I have no idea why. I’m not a neuroscientist.'
"There are plenty of screaming fans in the UK, America, Japan and Mexico featured and the band and their critics try to explain that it’s the girls and their twitchy-fingers on Twitter that have made them as big as they are today. And just to prove it Niall stops mid-interview and runs to his hotel window to deafening screams. This really is Beatlesmania for the 21st century ... With slick concert footage, no mention of girlfriends or groupies and the group PG confessions round a camp fire there is plenty to keep the fans happy."
"While hardly a very incisive look at the band or its five individual singers -- who are barely old enough to even have personal histories -- Morgan Spurlock’s documentary 'One Direction: This Is Us,' which will be released in dozens of cities over multiple territories, will doubtless score big for Sony. The holiday weekend should also give the film opportunity to build momentum and word of mouth in the weeks ahead as kids head back to school for the fall ... This might be a Spurlock documentary, but counter to his usual approach, the filmmaker doesn’t make a single appearance. Shooting the band and their concerts in a variety of formats over six months at a series of international venues, Spurlock only wrapped up in June with 1D’s Mexico City show. If the film’s production schedule, driven by the practically nonstop concert dates, seems rushed, it doesn’t particularly show. Throughout the film, live 3D performance footage alternates with scenes of 'the lads' cutting up backstage, huddling in their tour bus, dodging fervent fans or making promotional appearances.
"Overall, Spurlock plays things incredibly safely compared to his usual irreverent, hang-loose style. The concert scenes represent fairly standard fare, with 3D visual effects adding a touch of hyper-reality. Individual interviews with the singers create a more intimate vibe, with discussions ranging from their musical influences to expressions of homesickness and awe at their rapid rise to popularity ...While repeated comparisons throughout the film to The Beatles are clearly misplaced both creatively and stylistically, One Direction’s meteoric rise to fame is certainly a characteristic they share with the Fab Four, although their staying power might not be quite the equal of their fellow Brits."
"The Directioners' global conquest has been likened to Beatlemania, but 'This Is Us' is no 'A Hard Day's Night'. Because, like every other pop outfit, this lot are hard at work counting up the airmiles desperately attending to every fanbase from Mexico to Japan, the only way to make an insider's account is to go on the road with them, and document their resulting cocooned view of the world … The film makes a token effort to explain exactly why this particular combination of Liam, Louis, Zayn, Niall and Harry has incited such a worldwide outpouring of tweeny love. Simon Cowell, the happy hen behind this particularly lucrative egg, makes no effort to deconstruct it. He just pops up like Zippy once in a while to congratulate the fans on being "crazy, everywhere," by which he means dropping coins into his weighty pockets, but he offers no real answers …
"What saves this from being one big extended fan-fest is a) the intimate access, and b) the directorial wit of Morgan Spurlock … If you're after something thought-provoking and sociologically investigative, check out instead Channel 4's ‘Crazy About One Direction.’ But even the most rabid devotees in that documentary won't feel sold short by the amount of One-Directionness on display in 'This Is Us'. Which is fine and dandy, if you're a fan and the wrong side of the world from their next gig. (Rating: 3 out of 5 stars)
"The documentary is by turns revealing and strangely evasive. There are poignant interviews with the band members’ parents who feel extraordinary pride in their achievement and yet clearly miss them when they away for months on end and are slightly baffled by the transformation in their lives. We see Harry back in the baker’s shop where he once worked. There’s not much in the way of sex and drugs when One Dimension go on tour. Although the girls adore the band and respond to them with hysterical enthusiasm during the concert sequences (very effectively filmed in 3D), the band members’ own love lives are strictly off limits.
"We learn how the fans, helped propel One Direction to their extraordinary level of success. Much of the rest of the film follows them on tour. They’re personable, talented and hard working and seem to relish life on the road. From time to time, though, there are hints that being plucked from your families, turned into pop idols and mobbed wherever you go isn’t such an idyllic existence after all." (Rating: 3 out of 5 stars)
"'One Direction: This Is Us' is a straightforward account of the group’s three-year rise to fame, culminating in two sold-out nights at the 50,000-capacity Foro Sol arena in Mexico City. Even readers who are unfamiliar with the work of Harry Styles, Zayn Malik et al may still be aware that the five-piece was constructed during the seventh series of The X Factor: they finished in third place, but were signed to Simon Cowell’s record label anyway. Cowell pops up towards the start of the film to marvel, with an admirably straight face, at their entirely organic rise to stardom. Spurlock himself is nowhere to be seen, perhaps because the man in charge of this film is plainly Cowell himself, whose influence hangs over the picture like the smell of a leaky bin bag. One Direction: This Is Us is constructed like an episode of The X Factor, with 3D performances from their Take Me Home concert tour (96 arena dates down and still rumbling onwards) broken up by ersatz candid footage ... There are pre-gig hijinks and post-gig heart-to-hearts, all of which the boys conduct in an at least partial state of undress. Even a visit to the recording studio is conducted sans trousers.
"The One Direction fanbase is a famously passionate bunch, and throughout the film the band talks about them often, in a tone that occasionally borders on panicky. “We just have to keep thanking the fans for everything they’ve done for us,” says Niall Horan during a car journey, while nervously glancing out of the window. An odd moment occurs during a shopping trip in Amsterdam when the boys visit a sportswear shop, and within minutes are hemmed in by a shuffling, groaning horde worthy of 'Dawn of the Dead.' This Is Us has been made with these fans in mind, and there’s nothing like a guaranteed profit to stifle creativity." (Rating: 2 out of 5)
"Once one reaches a certain age, the procession of teen pop idols becomes a cruel reminder of the passage of time and the inevitability of death. For any non-teenager attending Morgan Spurlock’s concert documentary 'One Direction: This Is Us,' intimations of mortality will be felt most strongly during the 'classic cover song' section of the group’s set, wherein the boy band reaches all the way back to Blondie’s 'One Way or Another' and Wheatus’ 2000 golden oldie 'Teenage Dirtbag.' Yet the film’s central fivesome prove charming pallbearers throughout the film, which alternates between inspired and insipid as it hits its hagiographic marks. Directioners should show up in full force ... How the group developed post-”X Factor” would seem a fertile topic for a media-savvy documentarian like Spurlock — particularly as One Direction’s underlying sense of irony seems anathema to Cowell’s rigidly straight-laced model of pop stardom — yet the director generally plays things straight, interspersing live footage of the boys at London’s O2 Arena with behind-the-scenes shenanigans from their globe-hopping 2012-13 tour.
"While it lacks anything approaching insight, the film does contain reams of squealing fans, frequent shirtlessness and cameos from the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Chris Rock, and an endearingly enthusiastic Martin Scorsese, who drops in on the group’s dressing room before a Madison Square Garden show. Although the group is described as 'a bit anarchic' by a British critic here, any evidence of paramours or partying has been scrubbed clean from these reels, and the fivesome rarely say anything of much interest. Yet they’re unerringly charming oncamera, and for a generation raised on Justin Bieber’s Twitter musings, hearing the heavily accented Liam Payne describe the group 'proper having a full-on strop' must seem thrillingly exotic."