Inglourious Basterds: Tarantino’s Most Successful Opening

Surpassing all expectations, “Inglourious Basterds,” Tarantino’s WWII fable-actioner registered strong on opening day Friday, grossing about $14.3 million from 3,165 theaters to easily score Tarantino’s best opening ever at the U.S. box-office.

Tarantino’s previous commercial highs for his solo-helming work belonged to 2004’s “Kill Bill Vol. 2” which drew a first day of $10.8 million and a three-day weekend of $25.1 million.

Much has been written about the Weinstein Co.’s financial problems, so the opening for “Inglourious Basterds” comes at the right time for company as it prepares for award season.   Next weekend, the Weinstein Co. will make another effort to top the box office  with Rob Zombie’s “Halloween II,” a sequel to his 2007 reboot of the horror franchise which still owns the Labor Day weekend opening record with a four-day of $30.6 million.

“Inglourious Basterds” was co-produced and co-distributed internationally by Universal Pictures. Tarantino also won his best opening day in France with “Basterds” on Wednesday with $1.4 million. Overseas, the film is playing on a total of 2,620 playdates in 22 territories including the U.K. and Germany.

Among Weinstein Co. releases, “Ingllourious Basterds” has the second highest opening day for the studio behind 2006’s “Scary Movie 4” ($19 million).

“Inglourious Basterds” also broke “District 9’s” record from last Friday ($14.2 million) as the second highest R-rated opener in August behind “American Pie 2.” ($16.5 million).

Having been in the works for 10 years, “Inglourious Basterds” tells the tale of a bunch of WWII Jewish American soldiers who ruthlessly eliminate Nazis. The film touts mostly an international cast with the exception of Brad Pitt, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger, and B.J. Novak.

However, since winning the best-actor trophy at Cannes for “Basterds,” Austrian-born thesp Christoph Waltz has been winning critical praise for his portrayal as a fierce Nazi colonel.  Back In May, I predicted in my review of the film out of the Cannes Film Fest that Waltz is a frontrunner for an Oscar nomination.

Read my recent column, Let the Oscar Race Begin.