In 2011, a then 17 year-old Bieber made his film debut in his very own big screen flick Never Say Never. The documentary was followed by 2013’s Justin Bieber’s Believe.
Meanwhile, One Direction: This Is Us debuted in 2013, preceding One Direction: Where We Are – The Concert Film.
Below, we break down exactly how these album-release-day-rivals stacked up in the cineplexes.
Never Say Never: The 3-D film is part concert, part documentary. It follows Bieber as he prepares for his sold-out August 2010 performance at Madison Square Garden, which, at the time, was his biggest gig to date. Footage from the big show is interspersed with home videos of the young Biebs, interviews with his friends and family and scenes from his tour.
This Is Us: The film promised One Direction fans an opportunity to “experience their lives on the road.” Concert footage from the O2 Arena in London is included alongside clips of the group pre-and post-X Factor and on the tour bus.
Believe: The NSN sequel follows Bieber on his Believe Tour. In addition to concert footage, it includes interviews with the pop sensation, his mom Pattie Mallette and his mentor Usher.
Where We Are: Chronicling One Direction’s 2014 shows at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy, the limited engagement movie was only in theaters for two days.
Box Office Pull
Never Say Never: After a healthy $29.5 million opening weekend, NSN went on to become the highest-grossing music documentary of all time with a $99 million payout worldwide.
This Is Us: Worldwide, This Is Us brought home the bacon – $67.3 million worth to be exact.
Believe: Bieber’s second feature-length foray was widely considered a box office bomb with a domestic gross of $6.2 million.
Where We Are: The movie made $15 million during its short time in theaters.
What Critics Had to Say
Never Say Never: “In the film’s best and weirdest shot, [director Jon M. Chu] zooms in close as Mr. Bieber flings his head back and forth in slow motion, waving his famously floppy hair in a moment that’s both hilarious and creepy, especially when you’re watching in 3-D.”
– Mike Hale for The New York Times
This Is Us: “The lads are lively and likable, their songs non-offensive and interchangeably poppy. This Is Us does what it needs to do for its target audience. But anyone looking for actual substance or insight will be disappointed and maybe even a little bored with its repetitive nature.
– Christy Lemire for RogerEbert.com
Believe: “Director Jon M. Chu’s second documentary is strictly for the Beliebers, with any non-fans sure to respond with bemusement.”
– Frank Scheck for The Hollywood Reporter
Where We Are: “Fans familiar with One Direction s previous cinematic outing, One Direction: This Is Us, may feel somewhat short-changed by the dearth here of carefully vetted, pseudo-spontaneous behind-the-scenes footage.”
– Leslie Felperin for The Guardian
What They’ve Said About It
Never Say Never: “A lot of people don’t like me because they don’t know my story – they don’t know that I actually sing, and they don’t know that that’s what I love to do. So I want them to see my movie and see that I work really hard.”
– Bieber, in an interview with Jake Hamilton
This Is Us: “It’s all good stuff. What’s not to love? We’re on tour. It’s five lads having a laugh.” – Harry Styles, in an interview with ScreenSlam
Believe: “I think Believe is really how you get back up when you fall down and really that story of what’s been going on behind the scenes. People really don’t get to see me and that I’m really a 19 year-old boy. I’m becoming a man, but I’m still 19. I’m still finding myself.”
– Bieber, during an On Air with Ryan Seacrest interview
Where We Are: “If you haven’t had a chance to come see us on our Where We Are stadium tour this year or you simply just want to relive it again, we’ve got a very very special announcement for you.”
– Niall Horan, in the film’s announcement video