Amazon, which rarely reveals viewing data for its shows and movies, didn’t go into detail but said the performance represented a “great success”. The streamer also said more than one million fans tuned in to interact with character Borat on the movie’s Facebook watch party on Thursday night, and that the same number watched a branded content live stream on Twitch.
Rumor has it that Amazon spent an eye-watering amount for rights to the film so it makes sense that the studio would want to tout its apparent success.
Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios said: “Sacha has masterfully created one of the most well received films of these unprecedented times – showcasing some of the best and the worst of us, wrapped in one outrageous moment after another. But at its core, Borat 2 is a heartwarming story of a father daughter relationship and of female empowerment seen through a hysterical, satirical lens. With the tremendous launch of this global, tentpole movie, it’s clear our customers around the world want content that is both relevant and entertaining.”
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The campaign has certainly cut through.
In the lead up to the film’s launch last Friday, Prime Video coordinated well-covered stunts around the world, including enormous Borat balloons floating down the Thames in London, the Hudson River in New York, Toronto’s Harbourfront and Praia do Arpoador in Rio. In Sydney, Bondi Beach was transformed into ‘Borat Beach’ with the help of Borat lookalikes dressed in “maskinis.”
The film has had social media support from the likes of Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, Seth Rogen, Taika Waititi, Kim Kardashian, Drake, Josh Gad and Amy Schumer. Reviews have been mixed but ubiquitous and the spats with Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani have helped boost visibility, as have appearances on shows such as Jimmy Kimmel.
Even the Kazakh tourist board has got in on the promotion, adopting Borat’s catchphrase “Very nice!” for their latest campaign.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing, however.
Last week, the Kazakh American Association demanded that Amazon withdraw the film on grounds that it “may cause irreparable harm to to Kazakhstan’s national image and people as its comedic nature may justify ethnicity-based harassment”. A petition launched in the same vein earlier this month has garnered more than 100,000 signatures.
As we have reported, there was also a lawsuit to resolve with the estate of Judith Dim Evans, a Holocaust survivor who appears in the film. Ultimately, a judge in George dismissed the suit which alleged that Evans was deceived about her participation and that the movie aimed to “mock the Holocaust and Jewish culture”. Evans, who died before the film was released, appears in a scene at a synagogue where Borat says he has read on Facebook that the Holocaust never happened. Baron Cohen, who is Jewish and has been an outspoken campaigner against Holocaust denial and Facebook misinformation, dedicated the film to Evans and his production team explained the film’s satirical nature to her.