‘Borat’ Rakes In Another $29 Million; Will Ferrell Opens At #4

Box-office top three holds steady; 'Stranger Than Fiction' earns $14 million.

The Top Five

#1 “Borat” ($29 million)

#2 “The Santa Clause 3″ ($16.9 million)

#3 “Flushed Away” ($16.7 million)

#4 “Stranger Than Fiction” ($14.1 million)

#5 “Saw III” ($6.6 million)

For the second week in a row, the U.S. was overrun by a foreign intruder — maybe Rumsfeld got out at the right time.

Yes, Americans are still laughing at “Borat” as the surprise comedy hit actually improved on its first weekend tally with an impressive $29 million in receipts. Of course nothing is a surprise for this film after its still-astounding $26.4 million gross in limited release last week. Now playing to a much wider audience (2,566 theaters versus last week’s 837), “Borat” has cemented its status as the comedy phenomenon of the year. A $100 million gross is inevitable for the low-budget flick. Will audiences keep coming back for more to make it a true $150-200 million blockbuster? The jury is still out on that one.

The rest of the top five looked very familiar with “The Santa Clause 3,” “Flushed Away” and “Saw III” still being represented. The lone newcomer was “Stranger Than Fiction,” which debuted in fourth place. Though “Fiction” could be called a Will Ferrell comedy, the similarities between this heady quirk-fest and “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” end with the star they share. Its $14.1 million opening proves Ferrell still can be a draw even if he strays a bit from his bread and butter.

The same cannot be said this week about Russell Crowe and his newest film, “A Good Year.” The romance set in the South of France reteamed Crowe with “Gladiator” director Ridley Scott, but barely enough people attended the flick in its opening frame to fill the Roman Colosseum. A $3.8 million debut won’t have anybody at Fox opening up a bottle of wine for this romantic trifle.

How’d We Do?

“Borat” was indeed the no-brainer pick for our trio of prognosticators (see “Projection Booth: Forget The Competition — ‘Borat’ Is Going Big” ). But it was MTV News writer Larry Carroll who emerged victorious for the second consecutive week as he vanquished celebrity guest Meat Loaf and this writer with his uncanny dead-on prediction of $29 million for the flick. Maybe we are experts after all.

After three weeks of predictions, here’s how it stands:

Prognosticator (Weeks won)

Larry Carroll, MTV News writer (2)

Josh Horowitz, MTV Movies Editor (0)

Celebrity guest (1)

In Perspective

If the lackluster box-office performance of “Cinderella Man” bothered Russell Crowe, it’s safe to say he is not a happy camper now with the absolute thud that “A Good Year” registered in its opening.

Here is a look at how Crowe’s last five films opened at the box office:

» “Cinderella Man” (2005) – $18.3 million

» “Master and Commander” (2003) – $25.1 million

» “A Beautiful Mind” (2001) – $16.5 million

» “Proof of Life” (2000) – $10.2 million

» “Gladiator” (2000) – $34.8 million

Next Week

“Let’s Go to Prison” proves there’s life after “Arrested Development” for Will Arnett. The director of “Mad Max” marches out some penguins with the animated “Happy Feet.” Oh, and there’s this dude coming back named Bond — James Bond. “Casino Royale” is almost here. Prepare for your martinis to be shaken and the top five to be rattled.

Check out everything we’ve got on “Borat”, “Stranger Than Fiction” and “A Good Year”.

Visit Movies on MTV.com for more from Hollywood, including news, reviews, interviews and more.

Want trailers? Visit the Trailer Park for the newest, scariest and funniest coming attractions anywhere.