Brothers Grimsby: Sacha Baron Cohen Spy Comedy Bombs at Box-Office

The Brothers Grimsby, Sony’s spy comedy from Sacha Baron Cohen opened disastrously, grossing only $3.2 million from 2,235 locations.

The movie raises questions about the bankability and viability of the comic mind behind who gave us the hilarious Borat and the funny Bruno.

Cohen’s most recent starring effort, 2012’s The Dictator, disappointed with roughly $180 million on a $65 million budget.

He tends to have a long period of time between projects, which may have diminished his popularity.

The Brothers Grimsby, with a $60 million budget, ranks as the biggest flop of Cohen’s career.

The indefatigable British prankster showed up at the Oscars as his signature character, Ali G, to riff on the #OscarsSoWhite Controversy and held a friends and family screening with Kim Kardashian, a clip of which she promptly posted on Instagram.

Among his other publicity efforts, Cohen also handcuffed Matt Lauer when appearing on the Today show and, most recently, showed up at Funny or Die’s offices in New York City, where he stepped out on the balcony and used a megaphone to answer questions from the public.

The stunts were designed to create a viral firestorm and heighten interest in the Sony movie, but it didn’t work.

Cohen’s fans weren’t interested in the story of a dimwitted English football hooligan (Cohen) who reunites with his super-spy brother (Mark Strong). Brother Grimsby was also skewered by critics, who adored Cohen’s 2006 breakthrough comedy Borat.

“I just think Grimsby wasn’t fully fleshed out like his previous efforts, but I also think his shtick has grown a bit tiresome,” says box-office analyst Jeff Bock.

“None of his characters ever matched the success of Borat, which brings us to this: is it time for Borat 2: Back in Kasak? Borat was really his only truly lovable character if you think about it.  Borat didn’t have the hard edge and meanness inherent in his latter films,” Bock continues.

Sony has known that the movie had problems. The studio took over distribution duties from Paramount in 2014 and planned to unfurl the R-rated comedy in July 2015, but its release was pushed back several times, eventually landing on March 11. The movie cost $60 million before rebates, although Sony had two financing partners, LStar Capital and Village Roadshow.

The studio also had to weather headlines over a scene in which presidential contender Donald Trump contracts AIDS.  Cohen has long poked fun at Trump, including in December 2015, when he appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live in character as Borat and said that Trump’s insistence on banning Muslims shows he has the “brain of a female chicken.”

Overseas, Brothers Grimsby is also in trouble, including in Cohen’s home, the U.K., where it opened two weeks ago and has amassed a disappointing $6.1 million to date. This weekend, it took in only $3.2 million internationally as it expanded into a total of 34 markets for an early foreign total of $11.2 million and global total of $14.4 million.

The comic will try to rebound with a supporting turn in next summer’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” a sequel to “Alice in Wonderland.”