Thursday, July 9, 2009

Universal pegs $20 million opening weekend for Bruno...

For those who care about pre-weekend tracking, Universal is claiming that anything over $20 million for the weekend is a big win for tomorrow's release of Bruno. It's a reasonable prediction, and its smart of Universal to downplay expectations as much as they can get away with (I still can't believe that Disney successfully sold the idea that The Hannah Montana Movie would only open to $17 million). No one expects lightning in a bottle to strike twice, but Bruno is opening on over 3x as many theaters as Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Fox opened Borat on just 837 screens on November 3rd, 2006, but earned $26.4 million for a near-record per screen average of $31,607 per. Bruno lacks the element of 'surprise', as well as the newness of its predecessor. Frankly, I can't imagine that the in-your-face obnoxiousness of Bruno will play as well as the fumbling, innocent foolishness of Borat (but that's more of a long term issue, unrelated to opening weekend). On the plus side, Universal paid just $42.5 million for distribution rights in much of the world (North America, English speaking international territories such as the UK, Australia, South Africa, etc. as well as Germany, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands), so it doesn't really need to do nearly as well as Borat to turn a profit.

Scott Mendelson

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