Tarantino thrills at box office with "Kill Bill"
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Heads rolled and limbs flew at the North American box office over the weekend as director Quentin Tarantino's latest violent movie "Kill Bill -- Vol 1" left its competition for dead.
The homage to kung-fu flicks sold about $22.2 million (13.3 million pounds) worth of tickets in its first three days since opening on October 10, its distributor, Miramax Films, said on Sunday.
The bow is easily Tarantino's best. His last two movies, 1997's "Jackie Brown" and 1994's Oscar-winning "Pulp Fiction", each earned about $9.3 million in their first weekends. They ended with $40 million and $108 million, respectively.
"Pulp Fiction" alumna Uma Thurman stars in "Kill Bill" as a vengeful assassin who decapitates, scalps and mutilates her way through the Japanese underworld. Vivica A. Fox, Lucy Liu and Daryl Hannah co-star.
The second instalment of the film, in which she will face down the title character, played by David Carradine, is set for U.S. release on February 20. The film was split in two because the footage from nine months of shooting clocked in at three hours. The total budget was a relatively modest $55 million.
According to exit polling, 90 percent of viewers want to see the second instalment, said Rick Sands, chief operating officer at Miramax, a unit of Walt Disney. Not surprisingly, the film's audience consisted overwhelmingly of young males.
Two-thirds of viewers were aged 21 to 39, and 60 percent were male. On the other hand, Sands noted that the film also pulled in plenty of viewers who did not classify themselves as fans of Tarantino's.
"ROCK" ROLLS TO $40 MILLION
Last weekend's champion, the family comedy "The School of Rock", slipped to No. 2 with $15.4 million, taking its 10-day haul to $39.6 million. The film, which stars Jack Black as a substitute teacher who takes his charges on the highway to hell, AC/DC-style, was released by Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom.
The romantic comedy "Intolerable Cruelty", starring George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones as duelling divorce experts, opened at No. 3 with $13.1 million, a little lower than industry expectations, which had centred on the mid-teens. The film, from filmmaking siblings Joel and Ethan Coen, played strongest to older females. It was released by Universal Pictures, a unit of Vivendi Universal.
The talking-dog movie "Good Boy!" followed closely with a $13 million opening, far exceeding expectations. The film, which cost about $18 million to make, was released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which was also responsible for the No. 5 film, "Out of Time". The Denzel Washington thriller earned $8.6 million in its second weekend, driving its 10-day total to $28.7 million.
The top 10 contained one other new release, the low-budget horror "House of the Dead", which opened at No. 6 with $5.5 million. Released by closely held Artisan Entertainment, the film played strongest with males under 25 and ethnic viewers, a studio spokesman said.
Overall ticket sales ended a two-week losing streak, according to tracking firm Exhibitor Relations. The top 12 films grossed $98.7 million, up 22 percent from last weekend, and up six percent from the year-ago period, when "Red Dragon" was tops with $17.7 million in its second weekend.