UPDATE: Borat's opening day box office was a whopping $8.9 million! That's over $10,630 per screen. Holy green thongs, that's fantastic! David Poland notes on his Hot Blog that with that opener, Borat is set to hit $22 to $27 million -- not bad for a film that cost $18 million. It could even end up beating out Santa Clause 3 -- and when you consider the diff in number of screens, that's pretty darn impressive. Poland predicts that with next weekend's expansion to 2,500 screens, Borat could easily top $35 million.

Sacha Baron Cohen -- or at least, his alter-ego, Borat, doesn't have to worry just yet that, "If my film not success, I will be execute." Much of the buzz around his film (say it with me, folks) Borat: Cultural Learnings on America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan over the past week or two has been around awareness of the film and who exactly this Cohen guy is being rather low outside his fan base. In response, 20th Century Fox scaled back the initial release to 837 screens, initially targeting Cohen's fan base, who would be likely to hit theaters in droves opening weekend to see the strongly reviewed, much-buzzed about film. Fandango yesterday reported very strong ticket sales for the film on its opening day.

Not that Redmond, Washington is necessarily a barometer for the nation (the Microsoft town is considered somewhat "conservative" by Seattle standards, but in Middle America, this town would be seen as a hotbed of liberal activism), but we had a hard time scoring tickets anywhere in Seattle last night for my husband and mother-in-law to catch the film. I saw it in Toronto, and have been raving about it ever since, and they simply had to see it the day it opened. At the theater where we finally tracked down tickets, every screening of the film had sold out, and they added an 11:50PM screening to accommodate the flocks of Borat fans who were dying to see the film. That screening, my husband reported, was packed nearly full as well, and the audience response sounds like it was every bit as positive as it was in Toronto.

If the film does this well over the weekend, it could easily open with $10 million on 837 screens -- maybe more. Of course, Santa Clause 3 will technically beat Borat at the box office -- but it's also opening on over 3,000 screens. The bigger question is how Borat will track over the next few weeks. Once the initial frenzy of Cohen fans sees the film, will word-of-mouth be strong enough to keep the film going strong when it expands next week?

Did you rush out to see Borat last night? Let us know what the situation was in your town: Were screenings selling out? Was the house packed when you saw it? And how was the audience response? You, Cinematical readers, are our eyes and ears out there. Tell us how Borat is doing where you live.