A reader who works out of a Morgan Stanley office in Westchester County wrote the following this morning: “I’m no expert but I think 20th Century Fox made a big, big mistake in not giving Borat a wide release this weekend.” [Editor’s note: Fox had it scheduled to go out semi-wide but then got the heebie-jeebies and cut the exposure by 800 screens.] “I work in an open office and everyone is aware of it to the point that people may be skipping out to check an early show if they can find one.
“It looks to me like a blockbuster, in short, and what are these producers going to do when half the world wants to see it and can’t this weekend? Then the word-of-mouth will die down and what could have been a $25 or $30 million weekend will end up being $15 million or thereabouts.
“I could get to a show with a little effort since it’s playing in Manhattan and nearby. That’s not really my point. I just think that they are misjudging the output they would have gotten this weekend. Sacha Baron Cohen has obviously tapped into something that appeals to Roger Ebert i.e., the intellectual joke) plus the Jackass types that like slapstick. If you have something with that wide an appeal, why put in the governor by giving it a limited release?
“I know enough about movies that I will most likely see it at some point, and then buy the DVD on pre-sale, because it seems especially funny. If a movie is that good and that appealing, its just stupidity not to release it wide. There’s a big difference between ‘Hey, let’s go see that new Borat movie/” and ‘What was that movie that people were going nuts over a couple weeks ago? Didn’t it get great reviews?'”
“It might be big enough to get over the limited release, but with all this good press I would be kicking myself if I was one of the Fox distribution people.”