It is hard -- no; it is impossible -- to imagine a foreign film at the top of the box office. But, of course -- even though I've been humming the phrase "... all other countries have inferior potassium" under my breath for the past week -- Borat is not a foreign film. It's a fake foreign film -- and, again, when was the last time a fake foreign film was on top of the box office? And also -- in the face of over three thousand screens of Martin Short and over three thousand screens of computer-simulated claymation -- when was the last time a movie playing on just 837 screens was on top of the box office?

Borat may be rude and Anthony Lane may not get it, but people hit the screens in droves, giving the mock-Kazakh-doc a box office total of $26,375,000 on its opening weekend. The question of what will happen in subsequent weekends as Borat expands is, of course, an appropriate one for election week -- Will it play in Peoria? If there's any link between per-screen average and word-of-mouth, then Borat may very well have legs.

Meanwhile, The Santa Clause III opened on 3,458 screens and came in second with $20,000,000, while Flushed Awaycame third with $19,100,00 despite opening on a massive 3,707 screens. The only other film opening this week -- Volver -- played to good art-house numbers on five screens -- which is to say $200,000. Big movers included Babel, adding 28 screens (from a mere 7) and seeing a 135% increase in box office, hitting nearly $1.5 million in America. The Queen also added screens this week -- 235, for a total on 387 - and made more money; it's hit a total of $10,000,000 in American release in six weeks. Finally, the winner of this week's Make-out Award -- which goes to the film with the lowest per-screen average -- is Alex Ryder: Operation Stormbreaker , which barely squeaked out a paltry $304 per screen. (If you saw Operation Stormbreaker in a theater this weekend, you probably would not just have been able to sneak in snacks; you probably would have been alone enough to make a two-course dinner. During the film. With a gas grill.) Next week, look for Will Ferrel's existential meta-angst comedy Stranger than Fiction and Russell Crowe's new film What Ridley and I Did on Our Summer Vacat -- ooh, I mean A Good Year -- as the big releases.