Reject Report: Brüno Set to Invade Theaters


Welcome to another edition of the Reject Report, and yes, this is the weekend we have all been waiting for — or more likely, dreading: the weekend of Brüno.

Also, I Love You, Beth Cooper rolls out, and there are the usual summer movies at the theaters still looking for your business. all that and more at the Reject Report.

Well, as Neil Miller reported Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen has now crossed the $300 million barrier and also nipped Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs for the weekend box office title. That’s the good news for Transformers 2.

But — uh, uh, ahem — Ice Age 3 won the nights of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. In fact, on Tuesday and Wednesday the margins weren’t even close, with the animals winning by over a million dollars domestic each night. On Wednesday the animals got $6.1 million, while the robots got $4.9 million. Ouch!!

Transformers 2 may be making lots of money, but it is still showing signs of treading water in the box office department. They’ve spent a weekend trading spots with these silly animals, and now they’ve finally gone down to defeat all this week. The movie hasn’t got strong legs, either, because the box office drops for the past four days are all in the 55-57 percent range. That means one thing — as far as the box office goes, it’s not only no Dark Knight but also no Titanic. I think the opportunity is there for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to potentially mow Transformers 2 down and win the summer box office.

Still, it’s a steep mountain of money that has to be climbed. I think it will depend on what the audiences have to say: if the Harry Potter fans walk out of theaters fuming that the movie is garbage, it has no shot. But if people come out of there raving about what a great movie it is, it definitely has a shot. Really, the die-hard fans have been waiting for this movie to appear for forever and a day. It’s about time it showed up.

This weekend we have two movies, and I’ll get I Love You, Beth Cooper out of the way pretty quickly because the theater count is under 2,000 and that’s usually a sure sign that this thing will not be a blockbuster. This one stars Hayden Panettiere, and it’s about this geek from high school who declares his love for the hottest, most popular girl in the school. The tag line of the movie is “five words can change your life.” Those five words: I Love You, Beth Cooper.

The problem is that you have people moaning and complaining about how uninspired the movie is. It’s getting no critical or word-of-mouth help, period. I predict a swift box-office death for Beth Cooper: $9 million.

Now on to Brüno, starring Sacha Baron Cohen, which is yet another documentary-style comedy along the lines of Borat from a couple of years ago. Borat was funny as hell and made a ton of money, and as a result everyone thought there was no way people would be conned again by Sacha Baron Cohen. But apparently he’s done it again, playing the flamboyantly-gay Austrian fashion reporter. Against the odds Cohen lures big names to be in his movie, such as congressman Ron Paul. I guess these political folks just aren’t up on pop culture and have never heard of Sacha Baron Cohen, so that’s why he gets away with dragging the politicians into his productions to get humiliated on film.

Anyway, this Brüno movie has been controversial long before hitting the screens. There were some scenes in the movie about Michael Jackson who suddenly passed away, so they had to go and excise all the Jackson material from the movie. (I’m sure they’ll turn up on DVD under “Deleted Scenes”.) Also, this movie is rated “R” — hard “R”, about as raunchy as you can get away with without it being NC-17. In fact, there are people who can’t believe it isn’t NC-17, that’s how far they go. This is not going to be a movie that will appeal to everyone’s tastes, to say the least. And I wouldn’t blame some people if they decided they didn’t want to see this flick. Sacha Baron Cohen may be funny as hell, but he is definitely an acquired taste and can gross people out.

I think the movie is going to stall at around $32 million because of the hard-R rating and these other issues I talked about. Still – Brüno wins the weekend by my estimation, as I just don’t think these two other movies Transformers 2 or Ice Age 3 have what it takes to beat it. The reason it will win is because of all the controversy and outrageousness surrounding the movie. Really, the buzz has been through the roof.

The predicted order of finish:

  1. Brüno $32 million
  2. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs $22 million
  3. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen $20 million
  4. Public Enemies $14 million
  5. I Love You, Beth cooper $9 million
  6. The Proposal $7 million
  7. The Hangover $6.5 million
  8. Up $4.5 million
  9. My Sister’s Keeper $3.2 million
  10. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 $1.7 million

That’s it. See you at the end of the weekend with the results here at the Reject Report.

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