There will by no more sexytime for Sacha Baron Cohen.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph last Friday, Cohen announced the “deaths” of his most well-known characters, the cheerfully anti-Semitic Borat and the abrasive, tracksuit-wearing reporter Ali G. Variety has partially reprinted the interview, including the following quote:

“When I was being Ali G and Borat I was in character sometimes 14 hours a day and I came to love them, so admitting I am never going to play them again is quite a sad thing.

“It is like saying goodbye to a loved one. It is hard, and the problem with success, although it’s fantastic, is that every new person who sees the Borat movie is one less person I ‘get’ with Borat again, so it’s a kind of self-defeating form, really.”

After debuting the character on Da Ali G Show, which reached American televisions via HBO, Cohen made Borat the star of 2006’s Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, which quickly became one of the year’s top comedies (it remains at 91 percent on the Tomatometer).

Cohen is currently working on another film based around one of his characters, Bruno, and can currently be seen in Tim Burton‘s Sweeney Todd.

Source: Variety

In this week’s Ketchup, the most viewed news item just happens to involve Natalie Portman and nudity, Sacha Baron Cohen resurrects another Ali G Show character as one of his upcoming projects, and Montreal plays host to a trio of big films. Also, the cast of the Robert De NiroAl Pacino collaboration fills out, and a new version of Dune may be on the way.

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Sacha Baron Cohen Commits to Two Starring Roles

He’s kept a relatively low profile since testing the boundaries of comedy with Borat last year, but all that’s about to change — Variety reports that Sacha Baron Cohen has chosen his next two starring roles.

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Dune Headed Back to the Big Screen?
They’ve captivated the imaginations of untold sci-fi fans for decades, but even as the inhabitants of Frank Herbert’s Dune books have expanded their reach to encompass videogames, comics, posthumous prequels and sequels, and TV miniseries, a truly satisfactory film adaptation has remained out of reach. According to CHUD, all that may be about to change.

De Niro, Pacino Get Company in Righteous Kill
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Can Bruno repeat this film’s great success?

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Coming soon … in English.

A pair of new family films aimed at kids will duke it out for the top spot this weekend while a bumbling reporter from the former Soviet Union will cause a commotion for a more adult crowd.

Disney unleashes "The Santa Clause 3," Paramount counters with its own kidpic "Flushed Away," and Fox lets loose its outrageous comedy "Borat." Together, the three new releases should provide some zing to the North American box office.

Kris Kringle takes on Jack Frost in Disney’s latest family pic "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause" which the studio hopes will win the weekend’s battle of the kidpics. With a tame G rating, the Tim Allen film finds the former "Home Improvement" star trying to get back to his winning ways at the box office with a new chapter of his most successful franchise. Martin Short joins the cast as Frost. Allen crapped out at the multiplexes this past summer when his kidpic "Zoom" crashed and burned with only $4.5M on opening weekend. He needs to prove that he can still sell tickets.

The studio has had great luck with its "Santa Clause" franchise and its launching pad of early November. The first film in 1994 bowed to $19.3M on its way to $144.8M while the 2002 sequel opened to $29M heading to a $139.2M final. The gimmick just isn’t as interesting anymore. However, this time of year is typically active for the family audience and there could be room for both new pics to find their audiences. Still many of the same people will be torn between the two and will not have time to see both. Disney and Paramount would have been wise to open their films at least a week apart instead of on top of each other. Opening in more than 3,000 theaters, "The Santa Clause 3" could debut with about $22M.


Tim Allen is back for a third "Santa Clause."

Parents looking for another kind of battle this weekend can pick the claymation film "Flushed Away" which presents a pampered pet mouse against a slimey sewer rat having fun in each other’s world. The PG-rated film is produced by DreamWorks and released by its new parent Paramount. Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, and Kate Winslet provide their voices. "Flushed Away’s" biggest challenge, of course, will be from stiff competition from the opening of an established franchise film like "Clause 3." Reviews have been quite good so the studio is hoping that many adults will find "Flushed" to be the more original and entertaining choice and choose it instead. DreamWorks scored a $16M bow last fall for the critical darling "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" and could approach the same territory here. The marketing push for the new film has been stronger, but the competition will cancel out that added benefit. Opening in roughly 3,250 locations, "Flushed Away" might debut to about $16M.


Hugh Jackman provides the voice of Roddy in "Flushed Away."

Sacha Baron Cohen hits theaters on Friday in one of the season’s most-talked-about films, "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan." Box office expectations are all over the map for Fox’s R-rated comedy and it’s anyone’s guess how it will play out as there is no real film in history it can be compared to. The studio has executed a brilliant marketing campaign over the past several months with teaser posters of the fake journalist sparking curiousity with those not familiar with the character from Britain’s "Da Ali G Show" which has also found a home in the U.S on HBO. The Toronto International Film Festival screening brought the buzz to a whole new level with its outrageous red carpet premiere, projector snafus, and overwhelmingly warm response. Publicity stunts this fall with Kazakh government officials also helped "Borat" leap from the entertainment page to the front page reaching an audience that would otherwise be tough to reach. Reviews have been glowing with many critics calling it the funniest film in years.

The studio is releasing "Borat" in moderate national release with 837 theaters hoping to keep the product limited in the beginning. Sell outs combined with the expected positive word-of-mouth should fuel even more excitement justifying an expansion next week. The "Ali G" crowd will be out in full force so strong business should result from young men. That means that the second weekend of "Saw III" will provide some tough competition. Reports indicate that awareness is not too high in the middle of the country, but that should not be the case with the college crowd. Young adults want bold envelope-pushing films to see like the "Jackass" pics and "Borat" will play to much of that crowd. But is this only a blue-state film? Some thought that would be the case for 2004’s "Fahrenheit 9/11" before it opened to a surprising first place finish with $23.9M from only 868 theaters.


A scene of cultural learnings in "Borat."

"Borat’s" humor has the potential to go beyond the immature set and play to CNN-watching adults. Many will be offended and will never be converted. But a very strong average is assured this weekend and long-term success is likely too since there will be no other movie out there that comes close to resembling this picture. For the opening weekend, "Borat" might gross around $11M for an average north of $10,000.

"Saw III" should be the only holdover likely to still put a dent into the box office. Second weekend declines for the previous installments in the franchise were 39% for the first pic and 47% for last year’s "Saw II." Even with no competition for the horror crowd, a hefty drop should occur. Look for the third torture flick to get sliced in half which would give it around $17M for the frame and $61M in ten days.

LAST YEAR: Disney led the frame with its non-Pixar digital toon "Chicken Little" which debuted to a cool $40M. The animated film went on to gross $135.4M. Opening with strength in the runnerup spot was Universal’s war drama "Jarhead" with $27.7M on its way to $62.7M. "Saw II" dropped to third with $16.9M in its second weekend. Fourth place went to "The Legend of Zorro" with $10M while Meryl Streep‘s "Prime" rounded out the top five with $5.1M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Kazakhstan’s rapidly ascending number four journalist was on hand at the White House today to extend a personal invitation to U.S. President George W. Bush to screen his new "documentary," but was denied an audience. No report on the damage caused by the snub to U.S.-Kazakh relations.

Borat, AKA Brit comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, staged the latest in a string of unconventional, yet wildly successful, promotional stunts for his upcoming film, "Borat: Cultural Learnings Of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan."

As usual, Cohen was in full character as the earnest, tactless, anti-Semetic, cultural tourist Borat. Failing to gain entrance onto the White House grounds, Borat addressed assembled media outlets and publicly invited "‘Premier George Walter Bush,’ O.J. Simpson, ‘Mel Gibsons,’ and other American dignitaries" to screen the film, in which a fully satirical Borat tours America and unleashes his brand of ironic foreign ignorance upon real unsuspecting citizens, politicians, and celebrities.


Click for more pics from Borat’s promotional events

The last minute publicity stunt is believed to be in response to recent reports that Kazakhstan’s very real President, Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, had taken great offense to Cohen’s personification of Borat as a clueless, misogynist bigot and the nation of Kazakhstan as a backwater cesspool of incest, prostitution and corruption (although in Borat’s words, "Women can now travel inside of bus. Homosexuals no longer have to wear blue hats. And age of consent has been raised to 8 years old.").

With the 20th Century Fox release fast approaching (November 3, the weekend before Election Day), "Borat" buzz is growing bigger by the second, thanks to great success in festival runs (Cannes & Toronto), unconventional and inspired promotional stunts (Borat’s red carpet arrival by peasant woman-pulled cart), and now, the ignorance of the uninitiated (people who think Borat’s prejudices are real, officials who think people will think Borat is real).

Thanks to the Kazakh government, who yesterday took out its second multi-page ad in The New York Times to protect its image from the possibility of Borat viewers thinking the worst of Kazakhstan, Sacha Baron Cohen and Fox have got themselves even more free publicity. Opening weekend prediction: Number One at the Box Office. Not that "The Santa Clause 3" ever had a chance.

**Cinematical/Netscape is hosting a video of Borat’s White House visit here!