With its relentless PR campaign and endless stream of positive reviews, "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" finally opens in theaters today. Despite the good buzz, the film's box office take will be on the watch list.
The movie was originally slated to open on about 2,000 screens, but was scaled back to 837 -- low tracking numbers being the cause. In comparison, "Santa Clause 3" and "Flushed Away" are opening wide on 3,707 and 3,458 screens, respectively. Put the two together and "Borat" has virtually no chance of opening in the top slot.
How far will it fall?
Two of the leading box office tracking websites, The-Numbers.com and BoxOfficeMojo.com, are predicting less-than-stellar receipts; The-Numbers.com has "Borat" opening in sixth place with just $5 million. BoxOfficeMojo.com predicts a slightly more positive opening; fourth place and $10.5 million. The budget for the film was just $17 million.
The news isn't all bad for Kazakhstan's least favorite son. Fandango.com surveyed thousands of moviegoers planning to see "Borat" and found that 96% are planning to see it this weekend. The site also reports that through yesterday at 3PM PT, 72% of ticket sales on the site were for "Borat."