MJ Disc Essentially Tanks

When Michael Jackson was acquitted on all child molestation charges in a California court in June, pundits worldwide pondered whether the onetime King of Pop would be able to resurrect his flagging career.

A clue to that answer may have come from the first-week U.S. sales of the latest MJ greatest hits package, The Essential Michael Jackson. A less-than-whopping 8,000 units sold for a debut at No. 128 on Nielsen SoundScan’s current albums chart.

As expected, MJ’s getting a somewhat better reception overseas, with the album reportedly debuting at No. 2 in the U.K.

A mitigating factor might be that the 2-CD Essential package is the third greatest hits compilation released by the cash-flow-challenged singer in two years.

Sales had better pick up if they’re going to cover that spread in Bahrain Jacko has reportedly purchased, or the visitation rights agreement with ex-spousal unit Deborah Rowe he was said to be on the verge of inking at press time.