Box Office Preview: Can Quentin Tarantino's 'Inglourious Basterds' save The Weinstein Co.?

inglourious-basterds_lThe Weinstein Co. is making a big bet on Quentin Tarantino’s R-rated Nazi-killing epic Inglourious Basterds. The studio’s been in financial trouble for some time and if there was one filmmaker to help turn things around, Tarantino seems to be their guy. Sure, he had a misstep with 2007’s Grindhouse, but Inglourious Basterds is no homage to 1970s exploitation movies, nor does it run 3 hours in theaters. Between the long, lyrical passages of dialogue to the ultra-violent brutality, Inglourious Basterds is vintage Tarantino — and his fans should be out in force to see the guy back in action.

Inglourious Basterds will top the box office this weekend. Whether that will be enough to revitalize the company is anyone’s guess. Interestingly, Tarantino’s Grindhouse partner Robert Rodriguez is also releasing a film this weekend, albeit one as dramatically different from his Grindhouse feature Planet Terror as Brad Pitt is from Uma Thurman. Rodriguez is going down his familiar Spy Kids route with Shorts, a family film. This one follows a magic, wish-granting rock that falls into the hands of a group of suburbanite youths. The Tarantino and Rodriguez movies plus a slew of solid holdovers should be able to beat last year’s box office take, when Tropic Thunder led the pack for its second weekend in a row with $16.3 million.

1. Inglourious Basterds: $30 million

Kill Bill Vol. 1 opened in Oct. 2003 to $22 million, and the second installment bowed the following April to $25 million. Neither of them starred Brad Pitt as a Nazi killer. The only thing that could prevent Inglourious Basterds from hitting $30 million would be its 2 1/2 hour run time. But stranger things have happened.

2. District 9: $18 million

Only Quentin Tarantino could take the wind out of Neil Blomkamp’s critically beloved sci-fi film. If it weren’t for Tarantino going right for the jugular, District 9 would be destined for a very minimal drop its second weekend in theaters. Too bad it will be hit more severely due to the direct competition. Still, after this weekend, this $30-million movie will have earned close to $70 million, setting it up for some solid profits. See, Hollywood, not all good movies have to be big, bloated, and expensive.

3. Shorts: $10 million

Robert Rodriguez may have cast all his own children in his latest tale for the younger set, but this family affair doesn’t seem to be sitting well with critics. How it fares with broader audiences is still unknown. But a rather uninspired ad campaign may keep kids at the beach for their last few days of summer, rather than in a darkened theater.

4. The Time Traveler’s Wife: $9 million

Based on tracking, The Time Traveler’s Wife should have opened to $25 million — but reviews weren’t as strong for this Rachel McAdams-Eric Bana romance as many were expecting. Considering there isn’t that much out there for women this weekend, the adaptation of this beloved best-selling novel should hold on pretty well, dropping in the 50-percent range for the frame. Its biggest competition is going to come from Julie & Julia, which audiences adore. But based on the sheer numbers, Time Traveler should have the edge.

5. G.I. Joe: $8 million

G.I. Joe dropped 60 percent in its second weekend with the arrival of District 9. Expect it to lose as much if not more as Quentin’s juggernaut comes tearing into theaters. The fact that this movie has already crossed the $100 million is a wonder. How much more it will do will be primarily based on many kids buy tickets to this then sneak into the R-rated Basterds.

Also opening: Fox Searchlight’s Post Grad, which stars Alexis Bledel as a recent college grad who can’t land a job and is forced to move in with her family. Freestyle Releasing will open Renee Zellweger’s latest, My One and Only. This marks Zellweger’s second film of 2009 that’s destined for the bargain bin at the video store, if anyone even goes to those any longer. What happened to Zellweger’s career is really the question of the year.


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  • spikemelon

    I’m glad the Weinstein’s are in trouble. Years ago when bobby worked for BMI, that basterd set me up to record a demo for Badfinger. When the album didn’t materialize, he never even bother returning my calls…because of him, I spent a career in hell rather than realize the rock star I could/ve been, having written 250+ songs with no one to listen to them !!! Go to hell, Bobby – take Harvey with ya !!!!!!!

  • Jim

    “How much more it will do will be primarily based on many kids buy tickets to this then sneak into the R-rated Basterds”.

    Woa, why is there so much hate here at EW towards G.I. Joe? Just because they refused to screen it for the critics? The movie has its own merits. I found it to be very entertaining, with acceptable character development, good FXs, and not offensive towards anyone.
    On the other hand Transformers 2 (which EW gave a B rating) was none of those.
    Give G.I. Joe a break…

    • JAde

      My cuz worked on the FXs for Joe. I’ll tell him they were appreciated. :)

    • Greg

      Yeah, seriously. Knowing’s half the battle. Gaahd.

    • lisa

      well in canada the movie is only rated 14a

      • stylizeternal

        Seriously??

  • Nate

    I’m with Jim here. Clearly ew got paid to promote Transformers 2 and that OTHER garbage of a movie series they insist on talking about that I shall restrain from naming.
    I Think the running time of Inglorious B will hurt sales, I was looking forward before I realized it was almost 3 freaking hours long. I’ll check out Ponyo instead.

    • Jason

      Yeah – if I recall correctly there was no EW GI Joe cover story – not even an article (although I have to admit that I barely skim through my EW when it arrives these days – I certainly could have missed it). Kinda like when they ignored Fast & Furious and then had to put in on the cover after it made $70M – oops. Haven’t seen GI Joe – the “acceleration suits” in the preview killed it for me – but why the double standard with sh*t like Transformers 2.

  • Nick

    What does the running time have to do with whether or not the film is good??

    • the L

      Hey…I see no one has answered your question yet. If I may, the running time will cause fewer showings in many theaters causing it to earn less overall. If a theater can squeeze in one more showing (5 total) per day, that movie will earn more money (that’s the theory anyway). I hope this helps.

  • Jack

    Hollywood seems to hate GI Joe. I actually found it to be quite entertaining. IB will do great on the coasts but not so much everywhere else. I say 23 million.

  • Robert

    Saw Inglourious Basterds this evening and all I can say is BORING. What a yawn-fest. It was too long and too slow. The marketing for this movie is all off the mark. It’s marketed as a “Brad Pitt hunts Hazis” ensemble movie and he basically has what accounts to a glorified supporting role. And the whole “Basterds” hunting Nazi’s plot is so minor compared to the overall plot.

    • Stiglitz

      Go watch G.I. Joe again. Basterds is an awesome film with tension you could cut with a knife. Sorry that the movie wasn’t 2 and a half hours of pure action and CGI. I think there was enough of that to go around this summer.

  • Butters

    District 9 is one of the worst movies this year. Though the studio certainly did something right with its marketing strategy.

  • ripped off

    I hated it. Brad Pitt is cheeesy but this movie should not be called inglourious Basterds because it was not about the basters. lol

  • ripped off

    btw, this put it in concrete for me… Brad Pitt is a horrible actor. I read the reviews kissing his butt so I thought he would surprise me but sadly i was disappointed by Brad Pitt once again. I doubt it if others will call him out on bad acting because it almost seems like we’re blindly supposed to like him no matter what. I’m not falling for it. He sucks! the guy that plaid the jew hunter was good, though. he needs to take over all of Brad Pitt’s future roles. PERIOD!

    • Jason

      Is it because his southern accent is about as convincing as Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump and The Green Mile?

  • ripped off

    oops , it’s late/early. Please forgive my bad grammar/spelling.

  • Mana

    Wait, Time Traveler’s Wife should do well because “there’s not much out there for women” this weekend? Because it’s not like women could actually –gasp! — *like* sci-fi and go see District 9 again. Or enjoy some action (and Brad Pitt :P) in Inglourious Basterds. Way to keep up the Hollywood stereotyping that says women only like weepy chick flicks and rom-coms, EW. Heaven forbid women be allowed to have taste in movies that’s as varied as those of men.

    • Becky

      I so agree with you! There are alot more of us out there who just can’t get into those incredibly ridiculous “Chick Flicks”. All fluff, no substance. Loved District 9, and will be in line for Basterds tommorrow night.

  • EntertainmentBlogger

    Update from my last post! Took a while, but IB is now top ten trending on Twitter (that’s a tongue twister). Soooo…we shall see. Reviews are mixed.

    Entertainment2u on Twitter

  • mscisluv

    Audiences adore Julie & Julia? That’s not what I’ve heard anecdotally. Critics seem to love it, but most people I’ve heard from say that it’s quite boring, other than a few nice moments from Meryl Streep.

  • Mojo

    “How much more it will do will be primarily based on many kids buy tickets to this then sneak into the R-rated Basterds”..LOOL i used to do that all the time when i was young…Buy a ticket for a PG movie then sneak into R rated ones…good ol’ times.

  • Drarry

    I only want to see this for Michael Fassbender’s performance.

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