Showing his one-man publicity campaign and mockmumentary style still has a lot of appeal, Sacha Baron Cohen's "Bruno" opened to an impressive $14.2 million on Friday.
Directed by Larry Charles, Cohen's collaborator on the massive hit "Borat," the new film has caused some controversy, but it's core audience of young males (ironic as the title character is an overly gay wannabe celebrity), came out in full force to vault the comedy ahead of "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs." It's unclear how "Bruno" will play through the weekend. Will it play like a horror film and drop from Friday to Saturday or will it get a traditional bump? Depending on Saturday, the Universal Pictures release could generate between $30-35 million. That would be a great opening considering the studio spent only $42 million to acquire the rights for the hard R-rated movie.
"Ice Age," which grossed $8.4 million on Friday, will still compete for the top slot as it's Saturday matinees should dwarf whatever "Bruno" pulls off. The Fox animated title is looking at $27-30 million for the weekend and a cume already past $100 million by Sunday.
"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" is finally slowing down, allaying any fears it might challenge "The Dark Knight's" $533 million domestic gross (the second biggest of all time behind "Titanic"). "Revenge of the Fallen" found $7.6 on Friday and should finish with approximately $25 million for the weekend. With more competition on the horizon as "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" opening Wednesday, "Revenge of the Fallen" is now looking like it will top out at around $425 million. Not too shabby for the critically panned sequel.
Surprisingly only because of the talent and filmmaker involved, 20th Century Fox effectively dumped the Hayden Pannetierie comedy "I Love You Beth Cooper" this weekend in only 2,000 theaters. With a $2 million gross, the comedy will be gone before anyone will notice and you have to wonder what director Chris Columbus thinks of all this. The original "Harry Potter" director is coming off the disappointing results of his movie adaptation of the musical "Rent" and currently directing Fox's potential franchise maker "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief." With mediocre reviews, it's unclear why the studio ignored the flick when there seemed to be a commercial opportunity with it.
Look for weekend box office estimates Sunday on HitFix.