Simultaneous premieres were held around the world
The Michael Jackson concert documentary This Is It earned $20.1m (£12.1m) at worldwide box offices in its first day, the studio that made the film has said.
The movie, which is based on rehearsal footage for the star's ill-fated comeback shows, was premiered around the world on Tuesday.
Steve Elzer from Sony Pictures said the movie is a "reaffirmation of the global appeal of Michael Jackson".
The film made $7.4m (£4,4m) in the US and $2m (£1.2m) in the UK.
"The studio believes that the worldwide launch, with very strong performance across North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia, represents an amazing beginning for the film," Mr Elzer said in a statement.
He has also revealed that the studio will submit the movie to the Academy Awards for consideration this year in the best picture category.
To be a contender for Oscar shortlisting, the film must complete a seven-day run in Los Angeles County and film-makers would need to "submit the proper paperwork," Academy spokeswoman Leslie Unger said.
Fans went wild at the London screening
Director Kenny Ortega said the late star "deserves" to win an Oscar.
Jackson's brothers attended the film's screening in LA on Tuesday and simultaneous premieres were held in 18 other cities around the world.
The movie was then released to cinemas on Wednesday for a two-week run only.
However, Sony has said the movie will be extended beyond its planned stint if ticket demand is high.
The movie, which runs to nearly two hours, features Jackson singing and dancing to his biggest hits, including Beat It, Black or White and Man in the Mirror.
Jackson, who died on 25 June aged 50, had spent the previous four months rehearsing in LA for the record 50 concerts which were to be held in London.
More than 800,000 tickets had been sold for the concerts, with organisers promising one of the "most expensive and technically advanced" live shows ever.
He was just two weeks away from the opening night at the time of his death.
By the weekend, it will be shown in 110 countries.