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Weekend Forecast for November 3-5, 2006

By Reagen Sulewski

November 3, 2006

Quick! Fast forward through the Kevin Federline!

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Borat stars Cohen as the title character, a Kazakhstani journalist sent to the United States in order to learn what makes it the greatest country in the world. Cohen plays him as the most clueless foreigner possible, in order to better slip in under the radar of American sensibilities. It's a brilliant conceit, and the real people he interacts with reveal astonishing things about themselves, with just a little prodding from Borat's incredibly racist and anti-Semitic remarks. It's almost Andy Kaufman-esque in its sensibilities, though the main difference is that Cohen allows us to be in on the joke and is hoping we get the message of the film about just how shallow racism and xenophobia can lie.

It's also hysterically funny, with critical reviews tending into the rapturous and calling it the funniest movie of the year. Cohen's shtick depends on flying somewhat under the radar, so while those in the know will be out in full force, it's going to leave a lot of people scratching their heads. It's appealing to almost the same subset of people that "get" Jackass, though this is obviously more culturally inflammatory. Fox is releasing the film on a very small slate - just 837 screens - but awareness is running extremely high, and Borat has tremendous breakthrough potential. Look for it to make an extremely strong showing with $14 million, and a solid third place finish.

Saw III grabbed an impressive $33 million in its opening weekend, the highest so far for the horror series, which led to a fourth outing of the franchise being immediately greenlit. That's mainly due to the fact that this is twice the figure of the film's budget, and not any particular hopes that it has of earning great amounts of money in the upcoming weeks. Horror is especially front-loaded as films go, and this one in particular wasn't that well received. Look for an extremely steep drop to around $14 million.

The Departed is set to pass the $100 million mark this weekend, if it can continue its stretch of impressive holdovers, now entering its fifth weekend. It's one of the leggiest films of the year, and each week solidifies its chances for Oscar nominations.




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A couple of films make expansions in limited release this weekend. The Queen jumps to around 400 screens after sitting just below the top ten at the box office. It should be left on the outside again with three strong new openers taking up slots, but should still be able add another $2 million or so to its total, and is making impressive noises for a film with such a Brit-centric focus.

Babel, one of this year's big Oscar contenders, adds a few more screens as well after an extremely impressive opening weekend. Averaging over $50,000 per screen at its seven venues, the multi-layered story starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett is living up to its hype as a Cannes-winning film. It should bring in another $750,000 this weekend.


Forecast: Weekend of November 3-5, 2006
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 The Santa Clause 3 3,458 New 28.8
2 Flushed Away 3,707 New 18.5
3 Borat 837 New 13.8
4 Saw III 3,167 0 13.6
5 The Departed 2,785 -166 7.4
6 The Prestige 2,305 +24 6.6
7 Flags of Our Fathers 2,375 +185 5.5
8 Open Season 2,458 -601 4.1
9 Man of the Year 2,388 -238 3.2
10 Flicka 2,314 -563 2.8

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