TwentiethCentury Fox expanded Borat from837 to 2,566 screens in its second weekend and reaped the rewards as feverishword of mouth generated an estimated $29m number onehold.
After two weekends the picture has amassed $67.8m, a remarkableachievement by the distributor. Fox has taken a character that was virtuallyunrecognizable before the summer and turned him into a cultural phenomenon thathappens to be one of the broadest and most incisive satirical vehicles thiscountry has seen in years.
Studio executives expect Borat to cross $100m within a matter of weeks,and while it is unlikely to beat off next week's launch of Casino Royale, it should remain the most attractiveadult comedic alternative in wide release for a couple of weeks.
The second and third slots stayed firm as Buena Vista's TheSanta Clause 3 added$16.9m for $41.1m and Paramount's Flushed Away added $16.7m for $39.9m, both in theirsecond weekends.
Sony'scomedy Stranger Than Fictionopened well in fourth place on $14.1m. Will Ferrell plays an emotionally torpidtaxman whose life is transformed when he investigates a narrative voice insidehis head and falls for a bakery owner. Emma Thompson,Maggie Gyllenhaal and Dustin Hoffman also star.
Rogue's supernatural thriller The Return starring Sarah Michelle Gellar openedpoorly in eighth on $4.8m, while Fox's A Good Year flopped in 10th place on $3.8m.
Lionsgate's horror sequel Saw III added $6.6m for $69.9m after threeweekends and fell once place to fifth, while Paramount Vantage expanded Babel in its third weekend and the pictureclimbed 14 places to sixth on $5.7m for a total of $7.5m.
Martin Scorsese is enjoying the biggest domestic hit of his careeras The Departed enteredits sixth weekend and added $5.2m for $109.8m to rank seventh. There wasn't somuch good news for another crime drama, MGM's Harsh Times starring Christian Bale and FreddyRodriguez, which opened outside the top 10 on $1.8m.
Next weekend's wide releases are: Sony/MGM's James Bond epic CasinoRoyale starring DanielCraig; Universal's comedy Let's Go To Prison starring Dax Shepard and Will Arnett; andWarner Bros' animated feature Happy Feet, featuring the voices of Nicole Kidman, Robin Williams andthe ubiquitous Hugh Jackman.
Estimated Top Ten North America Nov 10-12, 2006
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekendgross/Estimated total to date
1(1) Borat (Fox) Fox Int'l $29m$67.8m
2 (2) The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (Buena Vista) BVI $16.9m $41.1m
3 (3) Flushed Away (Paramount) UIP $16.7m $39.9m
4 (-) Stranger Than Fiction (Sony) Mandate/SPRI $14.1m -
5 (4) Saw III (Lionsgate) Lionsgate $6.6m $69.9m
6 (20) Babel (Paramount Vantage) Summit $5.7m $7.5m
7 (5) The Departed (Warner Bros) WBPI/Initial $5.2m $109.8m
8 (-) The Return (Rogue) Focus Features $4.8m -
9 (6) The Prestige (Buena Vista) WBPI $4.6m $46m
10 (-) A GoodYear (Fox) Fox Int'l$3.8m -