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A giant horsefly has landed in the ointment Borat has been enthusiastically slathering upon his neon-benutslinged body in anticipation of his movie's imminent release: The LAT is reporting that the initial plan of a 2000-screen opening is being scaled back drastically to a not-so-is-nice 800 screens, a tactical move Fox explains away using the kind of creative, textural jargon that trips effortlessly off the tongues of studio suits forced to save face whilst simultaneously massaging the outsized egos of their Kazakh superstars:

"Our research showed it was soft in awareness," said Bruce Snyder, Fox's distribution chief.

Industry analysts could not recall a studio trimming the number of locations so sharply less than two weeks before a film's debut. [...]

The movie also could be suffering from what one executive called "Snakes on a Plane" syndrome — buzz that peaks too early. After a year of Internet hype, "Snakes" had a disappointing opening this summer for New Line Cinema. Still, that movie was being hyped sight unseen, whereas critics have raved about "Borat."

With the movie's months of online hyping and series of MySpace screenings, it's not surprising that the words Snakes on a Plane would eventually rear their flanked, hissing head, and possibly sink their fangs into Borat's Pringle-tube-thick chram as they pump him with deadly box office poison. Still, it's premature to assume the movie will tank, especially one with advance buzz as positive as this one. At the very least, the filmmaker can proudly say that he never caved in to the overwhelming audience demand for their hero to just once utter the line, "Attention she-serpents!!! You make shit outside. Or else I now make sexy time explosion in your mother. Yes?"