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‘Bruno’ Looks to Follow ‘Borat’ at Box Office

Sacha Baron Cohen now can count on two outlandish characters to draw people into theaters. Brüno outdid even Borat in its opening weekend.

Brüno, which follows the title character, a gay Austrian fashionista, as he comes to the USA seeking fame, earned $30.4 million, according to weekend studio estimates from Nielsen EDI. Borat, which opened in 2006 with $26.5 million, went on to make $129 million.

Borat starred Baron Cohen as a naive journalist from Kazakhstan on a visit to the USA. The mockumentary put the actor on the map amid much controversy. Brüno faces a different challenge in the form of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which arrives in theaters Wednesday.

Brüno topped the box-office chart by attracting male audiences, who made up 56% of the moviegoers, according to weekend estimates from Universal Pictures, which released the film.

Baron Cohen's ambush comedy still resonates with critics and audiences. Roughly three-fourths of the nation's critics recommended Brüno, according to review site RottenTomatoes.com. And more than half of Brüno's audience told pollsters they were there because they enjoyed Borat.

Brüno's debut met the lower end of analysts expectations, but the total was just enough to edge out Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.

The third installment of the animated comedy dropped just 32% from its opening weekend to make $28.5 million. It has earned $120 million in two weeks. The PG-rated family film "is a favorite for families looking for a nice day at the theater," says Paul Dergarabedian of Media By Numbers.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, like its robot stars, keeps on going. The Michael Bay film was third with $24.2 million and has made $339.2 million in just under three weeks.

Johnny Depp's John Dillinger biopic, Public Enemies, was fourth with $14.1 million. That lifted its total to $66.5 million.

The Proposal is still hanging in there, too. The Sandra Bullock-Ryan Reynolds comedy crossed the $100 million mark last week and dropped only 18% to earn an additional $10.5 million. That gives it a four-week total of $113.7 million.

The only other major newcomer, Hayden Panettiere's high school comedy I Love You, Beth Cooper, met its anemic expectations with $5 million, good for seventh place.

The weak weekend left ticket sales down 13% from last week and 5% from last year.

Final figures are due today.

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