Tarantino's Nazi movie slays at box office

Sun Aug 23, 2009 3:08pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Nazis and Quentin Tarantino proved a lethal combination at the worldwide box office as the bad-boy director topped the weekend charts with his violent World War Two movie "Inglourious Basterds."

According to studio estimates issued on Sunday, the film sold a total of $65.1 million worth of tickets in North America and 22 foreign territories, a promising start after the disappointment of Tarantino's previous effort, "Death Proof," two years ago.

In the United States and Canada, the $37.6 million tally surpassed his previous best opening of $25.1 million for "Kill Bill Vol. 2" in 2004.

The foreign contribution of $27.5 million was led by No. 1 openings in such countries as France ($6.1 million), Britain ($5.8 million), Germany ($4.3 million) and Australia ($2.7 million). It will roll out across the rest of the world over the next three months,

Brad Pitt stars as the leader of a group of Jewish-Americans who carry out violent wartime acts of retribution across Europe. Pundits had forecast a North American opening in the $25 million range.

The film, which reportedly cost $70 million to make, also provides a much-needed boost for the struggling independent studio Weinstein Co., which co-financed it with international distributor Universal Pictures, a unit of General Electric Co.


Company principals Bob and Harvey Weinstein have released all of Tarantino's films, beginning in 1992 with "Reservoir Dogs" when they ran Miramax Films. But since launching their new firm in 2005, the Weinsteins have failed to make much of an impact either at the box office or the Academy Awards.

Harvey Weinstein told Reuters that the early strength of "Inglourious Basterds" was due in part to a last-minute marketing blitz aimed at women and urban audiences.   Continued...

<p>Director Quentin Tarantino and cast members Melanie Laurent, Brad Pitt and Diane Kruger pose during a photocall to promote "Inglourious Basterds" in Berlin, July 28, 2009. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch</p>