Tarantino sees "Basterds" saving Weinstein brothers

Tue Sep 15, 2009 12:31pm EDT
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By Dan Williams

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - The storming success of World War Two shoot-'em-up "Inglorious Basterds" is the ticket out of financial difficulty for its backers, the Weinstein Co., director Quentin Tarantino said on Tuesday.

Brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein have released all of Tarantino's work, beginning in 1992 with "Reservoir Dogs" when they ran Miramax Films. But since launching their new firm in 2005, they have been short on critical or box-office hits.

The New York Times reported last month that the independent Weinstein Co., cash-strapped after seeing a quarter of its releases earning $1 million or less, had sought restructuring advice as well as a bridge loan.

"They were backed up against the wall, and this gives them breathing room. This gets their back off the wall," Tarantino told Reuters during a visit to Israel to promote "Inglorious Basterds", which he said had grossed $200 million worldwide.

"It will give them some cash by the time the whole thing is over with, but it also even helps them inside of the industry and it actually shows Hollywood that they can open a movie."

"I'm actually proud that I was able to do that for them, that I could pay back their faith in me, that I could pay back their support," Tarantino said.

The film, which reportedly cost $70 million to make and which will complete its global screen distribution by November, stars Brad Pitt as chief of a squad of Jewish-American troops who butcher Nazis in occupied France. Their plot collides with that of a Holocaust survivor bent on assassinating Hitler.

The Anglophone, German, Austrian and French cast interact in their own tongues, with some Italian thrown in -- a departure for the 47-year-old Tarantino, whose past films tended to focus feverishly on the style and lingo of American urban toughs.   Continued...

<p>Director Quentin Tarantino gestures during a news conference ahead of the screening of his new film "Inglourious Basterds" in Tel Aviv, September 15, 2009. REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen</p>