Bruno: Baron Cohen’s R-Rated Comedy at the Box-office

July 12, 2009–Universal’s Sacha Baron Cohen wild comedy “Bruno” grossed $30.4 million in its domestic debut from 2,756 runs, with fans turning out for opening day. 

“Bruno” dropped a precipitous 39% from Friday to Saturday. 

The comedy–pushing the bounds of the R-rating–beat the $26.5 million earned by Cohen’s “Borat” in its opening in November 2006. 

“Bruno” was produced and financed by Media Rights Capital and acquired by Universal for $42 million. Universal, which spent a lot of money on marketing the picture, has domestic distribution rights, as well as rights in a handful of foreign markets.

Fox’s holdover “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” did strong business in its second frame, grossing an estimated $28.5 million from 4,102 screens and jumping the $100 million mark domestically. With a cumulative of $120.6 million, the movie came in No. 2 for the frame.

Fox wasn’t as lucky with new wide entry “I Love You, Beth Cooper,” the teen comedy, which grossed a meager $5 million from 1,858 runs to place No. 7 for the weekend.

Dismissed by most critics, “I Love You” has one of the lowest scores for a movie this year according to Rotten Tomatoes.

But “Bruno” saw steep decline in its second session, making it unlikely that the R-rated comedy will come near what Baron Cohen’s previous film “Borat” made domestically ($128.5 million) or internationally ($133.1 million).

“Bruno” declined 73% at the domestic Box-Office to an estimated $8.3 million from 2,759 theaters for a 10-day cumulative of $49.6 million.  Overseas, the picture fell 54% to $10.6 million from 2,400 playdates in 30 territories for a foreign cumulative of $46 million and worldwide tally of $95.6 million.

Universal said the movie would still be profitable for the studio, which acquired the project from Media Rights Capital for $42.5 million.  That figure does not include marketing costs, which were considerably high.  Universal is also distributing “Bruno” in eight key territories.  Its portion of the $10.6 million weekend gross was $8.3 million. Universal’s portion of the total foreign cumulative is $36.3 million for a global take of $85.9 million.

“Bruno” was hurt in territories where it went up against “Half-Blood Prince” and 20th Century Fox holdover “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” which remained resilient in its third frame.