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Given everything that's happened in 2020, it's ultimately going to be hard to determine the "biggest" movie of the year, but most certainly a contender for the title is Jason Woliner's Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. It surprised the hell out of audiences when it was officially announced at the beginning of September, and became a massive topic of conversation when it launched on Amazon Prime in late October.
With the way things operate in the digital world, we can't say for certain exactly how many people have actually watched Borat 2 since it premiered, but what is now being reported is that the movie saw the second most successful debut of any PVOD release so far in 2020.
That statistic is coming from ScreenEngine/ASI (via Variety), which regularly polls audiences aged 13-64 about what they are watching within seven days of a new title's release. According to their findings, Borat 2 outpaced other big films including Sam Hargrave's Extraction, Gina Prince-Bythewood's The Old Guard and Niki Caro's Mulan, but the one release it couldn't surpass in the rankings was the Broadway recording of Hamilton that launched on Disney+ just in time for the Independence Day holiday this past summer.
The polling doesn't feature any actual watching statistics, only rankings, but Amazon Prime has made official announcements regarding viewership of Borat 2 following its buzzed-about opening. Toward the end of October the streaming service put out a press release saying that "tens of millions" of subscribers clicked play on the film during its first weekend online, which lined up with reports at the time that its audience was surpassing Mulan's (though it also must be noted that viewers had to pay a premium price for the live-action adaptation of the Walt Disney Animation feature on top of the normal subscription fee.
Another direct comparison that's challenging (if not impossible) to make is between the success of Borat 2 and the original Borat 14 years ago. The original Sacha Baron Cohen comedy wound up being an international phenomenon when it hit theaters in 2006, ultimately making north of $260 million worldwide, but the sequel is operating in a totally different market where success is judged very differently.
What's certainly not in doubt is the public impact made by the movie. Audiences expected outrageousness from the comedy, but nobody expected the whole ordeal involving Rudy Giuliani. That sequence sparked conversation even before the film has made available to the public, and people who watched it won't soon forget what they saw.
For those who haven't seen it yet, or wish to watch it again, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is now streaming on Amazon Prime, and to see what's ahead for the rest of the year, check out or 2020 Release Calendar.