Variety‘s Michael Fleming and Ian Mohr have run the third significant story about how Borat‘s tracking isn’t all that terrific (“Kazakh Quandary”), following Nikki Finke‘s Deadline Hollywood Daily 10.17 piece and my own 10.19 article on this topic. Oh, yeah…Poland ran something also.
“While Borat has benefited from a wave of crackling Internet buzz, strong reviews and knockout festival screenings, Borat hasn’t registered as strongly in tracking reports,” Fleming/Mohr have written. “So far, it has scored below rival fare, from Catch a Fire to Babel, in audience awareness. But Fox maintains standard tracking methodology doesn’t apply. ‘This is a new genre of movie,’ said Jeffrey Godsick, exec vp marketing for 20th Century Fox. ‘The awareness is beginning with a targeted audience. When you are breaking a new kind of genre, not everyone knows what to make of it.'”
The way I put was that “it goes without saying that awareness and interest levels are through the roof with media, industry, ubers and early-adopter types but otherwise it’s looking like it may be a little too hip for the room, ‘the room’ being pretty much everyone else. Maybe Sacha Baron Cohen‘s goofy-dry put-on humor only travels with a certain clientele. Maybe people are starting to hear that Borat is basically about Cohen’s Kazakhstan culture reporter goofing on Middle Americans and maybe that’s not going down so well with some. Or maybe they just haven’t tuned in yet.”
The Variety story quoted “a rival studio distribution exec, who attended a recent Borat screening that was part of the buzz-building Los Angeles Blackcarpet screening series organized by, described audience reaction as nothing less than manic. Lines snaked around the block. Kids, dressed in Borat garb, took to a mike positioned in front of the auditorium to do their best impersonations.”
Fleming-Mohr also wrote that while “skeptics pointed to the internet-hyped Snakes on a Plane as a reason for caution, others noted that while Snakes was slammed by critics, Borat has received glowing notices so far.”