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Universal snags
rights to Borat follow-up, Bruno

Universal snags
rights to Borat follow-up, Bruno

Universal Pictures has won the intense bidding war for Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen's follow-up movie to Borat.

Sources said that Universal is paying $42.5 million for the worldwide rights to the film. The price includes the production budget of the film, rumored to be in the $20 million-$25 million range. Also included is a significant profit-participation component for the film's participants, believed to be the 15% range.

The price has raised eyebrows in Hollywood because Baron Cohen's much-hyped Borat does not open until November 3. Despite much advance praise for Borat, distributor Fox scaled back its Friday opening to about 800 theaters because it is concerned that the movie wasn't registering high enough in audience-awareness tracking.

With Bruno, Baron Cohen is calling upon another of his comic alter egos, Bruno, a gay fashionista from Austria who fancies himself as "the voice of Austrian youth TV'' and who sashayed from New York Fashion Week to Miami nightclubs in his previous appearance on HBO's Da Ali G Show, on which Baron Cohen was also first introduced Borat to American audiences.

As in the case of Borat, Jay Roach would produce with Baron Cohen. No director has signed on yet, though it has been reported that Baron Cohen wants to shoot the movie during the summer. (Reuters/Hollywood Reporter)

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