Box Office: Basterds are Glourious for Tarantino

It’s hard to believe, but Quentin Tarantino’s biggest box office debut so far has been 2004’s “Kill Bill”, which opened with $25 million on its way to a $66 million domestic haul. Five years later, Tarantino returns with his fantasized version of World War II, “Inglourious Basterds”, which exceeded industry expectations by pulling in an impressive $37.6 million in its debut, according to studio estimates.

Budgeted at around $70 million, “Inglourious Basterds” marks Tarantino’s biggest opening film to date, and seems poised to overtake the $107 million that his 1992 breakthrough film “Pulp Fiction” took in at the domestic box office. Of course, the film’s second week will determine if this weekend’s $37 million came from diehard QT fans (you know, the ones that scour these here Interwebs and pee in their pants whenever he announces a movie?), or if it has, as the industry folks say, “legs”. My guess is that anyone who wanted to see the film has seen it, and the film’s staggering two and a half hour running time will send your casual moviegoer fleeing. Don’t expect “Basterds” to overtake “Pulp Fiction”.

Meanwhile, Tarantino’s directing pal Robert Rodriguez’s “Shorts”, his kid- and family-friendly sci-fi comedy opened out of the Top 5 at number six with $6.6 million, despite showing up in almost the same number of theaters as Tarantino’s “Basterds”. Rodriguez has always done well with kiddie movies, in particular the “Spy Kids” franchise, and previews for the movie seem innocuous and “fun” enough. I’m sure a lot of studio suits will be scratching their bald spots and wondering what went wrong. Maybe Rodriguez should have done that “Predators” reboot, or that “Barbarella” reboot, or the other dozen planned movies he’s since dropped instead.

Last week’s number one film, the Peter Jackson-produced sci-fi film “District 9” fell to second place, but still managed to take in a still-impressive $18.9 million, giving it a two-week total of $73.5 million so far, according to studio estimates. Meanwhile, the much-derided “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” continues to chug along at #3, adding another $12.5 million to its coffers for a three-week total of $120.5 million so far. The Stephen Sommers action-adventure based on the Hasbro toyline has also earned $102 million from overseas markets, giving it a total of $222.6 million.

Here’s the Top 10 at the box office (via):

1 —–Inglourious Basterds —–$37,602,000 —–$37,602,000
2 —–District 9 —–$18,900,000 —– $73,491,000
3 —–G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra —–$12,500,000 —–$120,531,000
4 —–The Time Traveler’s Wife —– $10,025,000 —–$37,448,000
5 —–Julie & Julia —–$9,000,000 —–$59,288,000
6 —–Shorts —–$6,600,000 —– $6,600,000
7 —–G-Force —–$4,205,000 —– $107,315,000
8 —–Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince —– $290,275,000
9 —–The Ugly Truth —–$2,850,000 —– $82,887,000
10 —–Post Grad —–$2,800,000 —– $2,800,000

Even Leslie Mann's uber hotness couldn't bring the kids in to see Shorts. Stupid kids.

Even Leslie Mann's uber hotness couldn't bring the kids in to see Shorts. Stupid kids.