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Fans flock to London for premiere of Michael Jackson film This Is It

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Michael Jackson fans are expected to flock to London tonight for a premiere of a film showing the late entertainer rehearsing for live shows which would never happen.

Jackson, 50, died suddenly in June just weeks before he was due to launch the This Is It shows in London.

Footage from rehearsals will be shown simultaneously in 15 cities when the film, also called This Is It, premieres at 1am GMT tomorrow.

It has been described as “the single most brilliant piece of film-making” by Jackson’s friend, Dame Elizabeth Taylor.

Members of the Jackson family are expected to attend the Los Angeles premiere and footage will be screened to crowds outside the Odeon in London’s Leicester Square.

The guest list for the London screening includes Leona Lewis, JLS, Estelle, Peter Andre and the cast of the Jackson tribute show Thriller Live.

The first public screening takes place at 4am tomorrow when Jackson fans can see their hero preparing for the sold-out performances which would have taken place at the 02 Arena.

Filming began in March when Jackson announced the live performances, his first for more than two years, which he said would be his “curtain call”.

He died on June 25 after being rushed to hospital suffering from a suspected heart attack.

The LA County Coroner has since ruled the death was homicide caused by acute intoxication with the sedative propofol.

Jackson fans who set up the protest website This Is Not It are expected to make their voices heard at some of the film’s premieres.

They claim more could have been done to save Jackson and that he was treated as a commodity by people keen to make money from his fame.

Rehearsal footage released shortly after his death showed the King of Pop looking thin but well as he danced around the stage at the Staples Centre, in Los Angeles, but protesters said his failing health was obvious to those close to him.

Video: Michael Jackson the movie

This Is It is directed by Kenny Ortega, Jackson’s creative partner and director of the stage show, and has been produced with the support of the late singer’s estate.

Dame Elizabeth Taylor said she saw the film last week.

She said in a statement: “I was sworn to secrecy, but now I can let you know about it.

“It is the single most brilliant piece of filmmaking I have ever seen. It cements forever Michael’s genius in every aspect of creativity.”

The film will be in cinemas for two weeks.

An exhibition of Jackson’s personal belongings will also open to the public tomorrow.

Michael Jackson, The Official Exhibition is at the O2 Bubble – just yards from where the singer announced his ill-fated comeback concerts.

Costumes the singer would have worn during the concerts are included in the exhibition, curated by the Los Angeles-based Grammy Museum.

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