It looks like Borat is on its way to being a box office smash in the US. Despite Fox scaling the release back to 837 screens and fears that it would be another internet fuelled disappointment the film looks on course to be a huge hit.
After broad speculation that Internet buzz on Fox comedy “Borat” could make the pic “Snakes on a Plane 2,” the pic played more like “Fahrenheit 9/11” over the frame, coming in at No. 1 with $26.3 million.
Left-field hit won the frame handily while playing on just 837 screens, four times less than No. 2 finisher, Disney’s third installment in its “Santa Clause” series, which grabbed $20 million.
“Borat’ played to a whopping per engagement average of $31,511.
Pic was also an international sensation over the frame for the studio, which will now ratchet up the pic’s domestic playdates to 2,500 next frame. That move makes an already overcrowded fall that much more swamped with pics vying for attention.
Frame’s other new wide opener, Paramount’s “Flushed Away,” from Dreamworks Animation, came in No. 3 with $19 million.
“Borat” won the day, in part, because “Clause” and “Flushed” split their family auds, while the kamikaze Kazakh TV commentator brought in adults. Pic’s demos skewed slightly male and almost half the aud was over 25.
As Anne Thompson rightly pointed out last week, the key difference between Snakes on a Plane and Borat is that the former was a B-movie with a catchy concept whilst the latter is a genuinely hilarious comedy with enormous water cooler potential.
Despite some predictably contrarian reviews that bark up the wrong tree, it is still likely to do spectacular business when it goes wide next week. Here in the UK I imagine it will be a similar story.