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Sacha Baron Cohen’s “The Dictator” Rolls Onto College Campuses

Sacha Baron Cohen’s “The Dictator” Rolls Onto College Campuses

If it’s good enough for Sarah Palin, it’s good enough for The Dictator.

Paramount Pictures has taken a page from the political campaign playbook by launching The Dictator College Bus Tour, a mobile promotional push for Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest mockumentary, about Admiral General Aladeen, the fictional autocrat from the fictional north African country of Wadiya, on the campus of UCLA April 30. The bus will hit 11 other college campuses across the country in anticipation of the movie’s release, May 16.

Those who board will be asked to sign a pro-dictatorship petition, try out the Dictator iPad app, and take photos for a postcard like the one below–all part of an integrated campaign aimed at turning real-world interaction into online fervor (the postcards will be emailed to students so they can post them on Facebook and Twitter) and, ultimately, box office rule.

Baron Cohen isn’t exactly known for subtlety: He spilled an urn of ashes (said to be the remains of the late North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il) on Ryan Seacrest at the Oscars. But it’s an open question whether the comedian still has a deep pull with his core audience. Coming off of his wildly acclaimed TV series Da Ali G Show, his debut movie Borat became a cultural phenomenon: The low-budget film grossed nearly $130 million domestically. His 2009 followup, Brüno, had an impressive opening weekend but took in only half of its predecessor’s grosses. More recently, Baron Cohen has had roles in Hugo and Sweeney Todd.

Perhaps the clincher will be a cross-cultural culinary favorite. Hummus will be served on board The Dictator Bus, though it will be called by its Wadiyan name: Camel Toe Paté.

AK