'Bruno' breaks out from the pack

Universal comedy tops boxoffice Friday with $14.2 million

Universal’s “Bruno” dominated the boxoffice competition over its first day in domestic release, ringing up $14.2 million in estimated Friday grosses.

The latest Sacha Baron Cohen send-up – in which he portrays a fictional gay fashionista from Austria looking to make it big as a U.S. media celeb – remains well on track to open with $30 million or more in U.S. and Canadian coin through Sunday.

The Friday bow for R-rated “Bruno” compares to a first-day haul of $9.2 million for Baron Cohen’s 2006’s laugher “Borat,” also an R-rated release that rung up $26.5 million during its first weekend and $128.5 million in total domestically.

Universal paid “Bruno” producer Media Rights Capital $42.5 million in acquiring domestic and limited foreign rights on the pic and also committed to significant back-end payouts.

“Bruno” is playing in 2,756 theaters in the U.S. and Canada, compared with just 837 playdates for “Borat” during its opening weekend.

Elsewhere Friday, Fox’s PG-13 high school comedy “I Love You, Beth Cooper,” directed by Chris Columbus, registered $2.1 million in its first day of release, placing it seventh among the daily boxoffice rankings.

Fox’s 3D animated comedy “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” was second among all Friday grossers, with $8.4 million in coin from its 10th day in release pushing domestic cume past $100 million, at an estimated $100.4 million.

Paramount’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” was third with $7.6 million and a whopping $322.6 million cume at the start of its third weekend in release.

Universal’s Johnny Depp starr “Public Enemies” was fourth with $4.3 million on the day and a $56.7 million cume.