Score a personal best at the box office for Quentin Tarantino this weekend. Inglourious Basterds, his revisionist take on WWII starring Brad Pitt, grossed an estimated $37.6 million, besting the reigning box office champ District 9, and giving beleaguered studio The Weinstein Co. a little financial relief. Basterds‘ opening far surpasses Tarantino’s previous best opener, Kill Bill Vol. 2, which brought in $25 million in April 2004. The critical question now is how Basterds will hold up during the next few weeks. Since Weinstein only has domestic rights to the movie–Universal Pictures holds international–a large overall gross stateside is mandatory for the company.
Warner Bros. had a much harder time with its release Shorts from auteur Robert Rodriguez. Opening to only $6.6 million, the PG-rated kid flick landed in a weak 6th place finish for its opening frame. The only other new release to reach the top ten was Fox Searchlight’s post-college flick Post Grad starring Alexis Bledel. Despite opening in 1,959 locations, the film grossed only an estimated $2.8 million for the three days.
Among holdovers. District 9 did incredibly well considering Basterds was angling directly for its male audience. The $30 million sci-fi movie from newcomer Neil Blomkamp dropped a scant 49% to $18.9 million putting its total ten day gross at an impressive $73 million. G.I. Joe also hung in for its third week in theaters. The high-octane actioner fell only 44% to $12.5 million. It’s three-week cume now stands at $120 million. Female moviegoers helped keep The Time Traveler’s Wife and Julie & Julia in the top five. Time Traveler dropped only 46% to $10 million its second week putting its ten-day gross at $37.4 million while Julie & Julia fell only 25%, which is remarkable considering the movie is in its third week of release. Grossing $9 million for the three days, the Meryl Streep, Amy Adams two-hander has now earned $59 million total.
Thanks to the strong opening of Basterds and the solid hold of the incumbent films, the box office was up 26% compared to the same time last year. It’s the third week in a row the box office was up after four weekends of unimpressive results. Next weekend’s horror mash-up of Halloween II and The Final Destination 3-D should yield some positive results too.
More on Inglourious Basterds and Quentin Tarantino from EW: