Video killed the radio star and apparently Twitter is killing Brüno. TIME critic Richard Corliss contends the instant-messaging social network "can make or break a film within 24 hours" and the dismal buzz on Twitter is responsible for huge drop-off in attendance for Bruno, which opened to a studio-estimated $30.4 million in the U.S. and Canada. "Brüno could be the first movie defeated by the Twitter effect."
Yet Universal had high hopes for Brüno's opening weekend. Buoyed by the film's robust $1.6 million at Thursday midnight screenings and impressive pre-buys of tickets on Fandango and other sites, a studio insider told industry blogger Nikki Finke on Friday morning, "If it holds up, we'll do $50 million." The Friday figures supported that optimism: Brüno amassed a sensational $14.4 million. But the movie plummeted nearly 40% its second day, to $8.8 million. Meanwhile, the next five movies on the chart — Ice Age 3, Transformers 2, Public Enemies, The Proposal and The Hangover — all saw substantial increases from Friday to Saturday. (Ice Age actually did better business than Brüno on Saturday.) Worse yet, Brüno's rating by CinemaScore, which polls moviegoers just after they've seen a film, was a C. That pretty much stands for Calamitous.
Further proof: Brüno opening weekend made $30 million and at 2,756 theaters. Borat's opening weekend made $26 millions BUT it was seen in only 837 theaters. In other words, it took three times as many theaters to make only a little more than Borat. Not very cost-efficient.