Palestinian group threatens 'Bruno'

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Palestinian group threatens 'Bruno'

Wed Jul 29, 2009 @ 03:29PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Bruno-aitaWhen "Borat" arrived in theaters, Sasha Baron Cohen was hit with a ton of lawsuits from people who claimed they had been fraudulently duped into appearing in the film. Other than the lawsuit from the "victim" of a bingo charity game fight, the actor and Universal have escaped the same kind of legal wrath in the aftermath of the release of "Bruno."

Or should we say, unlucky?

According to Box Office Mojo, "Bruno" has raked in about $82 million in worldwide gross to date — a far cry from the $261 million that "Borat" garnered.

Maybe Universal would gladly accept the lawsuits if more people were going to see the film. Maybe the lack of lawsuits is an indication that for all of the film's purported outrageousness, "Bruno" simply isn't culturally shocking enough to draw crowds and get under the skin of potential litigants.

Of course, there's still time. One community may be ready to help out on the lawsuit front.

According to UK's Telegraph, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a group of West Bank Palestinian insurgents plan to file a lawsuit. (Does Islamic law address defamation and rights of publicity? We're not sure.) In "Bruno," Cohen implores Martyrs Brigade leader Ayman Abu Aita to kidnap him. "I want to be famous," Bruno says. "I want the best guys in the business to kidnap me. Al-Qaeda is so 2001."

Honestly, this may have been the most risqué part of the film because it's hard to believe Ayman Abu Aita was in on the joke. Now Martyrs Brigade may file a lawsuit for the "dirty use of our brother." Hey, it just might be the marketing opportunity that "Bruno" desperately needs.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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