'Basterds' gives Tarantino his best launch

Pic tops 'Pulp,' 'Bill'; opens first in more than 12 markets

"Inglourious Basterds" is off to a rousing start on the international circuit.

Quentin Tarantino's World War II opus starring Brad Pitt blasted its way to $27.5 million during the weekend from 2,649 locations in 22 markets, claiming the No. 1 spot with a muscular $10,381 per-screen average.

The film opened No. 1 in the U.K. with $5.9 million drawn from 444 screens, nearly a quarter of the market.

In France, "Basterds" also opened in the top spot with $6.1 million from 500 situations, or 30% of the market, per Universal figures. The first-place Germany intro produced $4.2 million from 439 sites and a 26% market share. Australia also provided a No. 1 berth and $2.6 million from 266 situations, while Russia contributed $2.5 million from 340 dates.

In all, "Basterds" topped at least a dozen markets. With its No. 1 North American debut, the worldwide opening-weekend tally was $65.1 million, the best worldwide opening gross ever for a Tarantino title.

The film's foreign campaign extends to 42 additional foreign territories during the next four months concluding with Japan in December, somewhat similar to the eight-month distribution pattern Disney adopted for its summer release of Pixar's "Up." This week's "Basterds" openings include Argentina, the Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal and Iceland.

"Basterd's" international opening was the biggest ever for Tarantino, who has had a mixed record overseas. 1994's "Pulp Fiction" grossed a total of $101.9 million offshore, and 2003's "Kill Bill: Vol. 1" made $111.4 million, per the Weinstein Co. figures. But "Kill Bill: Vol 2" in 2004 grossed $86.6 million, while 2007's "Death Proof" logged only $28.7 on the foreign circuit.

Universal, which splits worldwide revenue with the Weinstein Co., could use a boost from "Basterds." 2009 overseas boxoffice for the distributor's films through Aug. 31 totaled about $800 million, half the $1.6 billion take during the same period for the year's top-grossing major studio, Fox.

The best Universal performer in 2009 so far is action title "Fast & Furious," which tallied $195 million foreign, along with $155.2 million domestic. Still playing overseas is the distributor's "Public Enemies," which tallied $4.8 million on the weekend from 2,537 situations in 44 territories. Director Michael Mann's period crime drama starring Johnny Depp remained No. 1 in its second Spain frame with $1.6 million grossed from 458 screens for a market cume of $5.7 million. Overall overseas cume stands at $85.7 million.

No. 2 on the weekend was Paramount's "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," which had spent the past two weekends at No. 1 overseas. It grossed $12.3 million this round from 6,211 spots in 42 territories; foreign cume stands at $116.5 million.

Finishing third was "G Force," Disney's digital animation produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, which pushed its cume to $54.4 million thanks to a $9.1 million weekend at 2,508 situations in 22 markets. A No. 1 Russia opening produced $3.4 million from 325 screens.

Fourth was "Up," which continues its marathon overseas campaign with $8.7 million on the weekend at 2,237 sites in 19 territories. Cume stands at $142.3 million. Warners' "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" finished No. 5 with $8.6 million garnered from 6,400 screens in 64 markets. International gross total stands at $596 million and at $886.1 million worldwide.

Having rolled up an international cume of $616.4 million, Fox's "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" continues to show boxoffice spark by grossing $7.2 million on the weekend from 5,570 situations in 57 territories. Warners' "The Hangover" logged $7 million from 3,100 screens in 52 markets for a foreign cume of $148.5 million and $416.8 million worldwide. The sleeper hit comedy finished No. 1 in its second Mexico round with $1 million drawn from 387 situations for a market cume of $3.6 million.

Disney's "The Proposal," starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, drew $4.2 million from 2,410 in 37 territories for a cume of $110 million. Sony's sophomore "District 9" registered $3.2 million from 754 screens in nine markets including those not handled by Sony. Its Cume is $14.3 million.

The No. 2 film in Germany is Constantin Film's release of "Horst Schlammer-isch Kandidier" (Horst Schlammer Is a Candidate), a political satire about an eponymous Borat-type character (played by comedian-author Hape Kerkeling) running in the upcoming German parliamentary elections. Four-day opening gross was an eye-catching $3.2 million from 653 locales.

In Japan, Fox's "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" finished No. 1 in its second weekend at 624 sites grossing $1.96 million and lifting its market cume to $14.7 million. Total international gross for the Ben Stiller family sequel is $228.7 million.

In France, SND's release of "9," the latest animation outing from writer-director Shane Acker featuring the voices of Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly and others, opened at No. 4. The Focus Features/Relativity co-production, a postapocalyptic adventure, drew an estimated $1.35 million from 443 locations.

The most popular local-language film was TFM Distribution's "Neuilly sa mere!" (Neuilly My Mother), a comedy about a Muslim teenager living with a traditional French family, which finished No. 3 in its second weekend at 400 locations with $2.76 million and a market cume of $6.5 million.

Other international cumes: Universal's "Funny People," $1.2 million (from two territories); Fox's "Aliens in the Attic," $10.1 million; "Bruno (handled by Universal, Sony and Mandate Int'l.), $76.8 million; Sony's "The Ugly Truth," $17.3 million; Universal's "Drag Me to Hell," $9 million (in six Universal territories only); Paramount's "Dance Flick," $958,235; Universal's "Land of the Lost," $14 million; Sony's "Year One," $10.5 million; Fox's "Taken," $44.7 million (Fox territories only); Universal's "State of Play," $50.5 million; DreamWorks Animation/Paramount's "Monsters vs. Aliens," $181.4 million; Sony's "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3," $36.4 million; DreamWorks/Paramount's "I Love You, Man," $19.7 million; Fox's "I Love You, Beth Cooper," $551.297; Paramount's "Imagine That," $2.1 million; Focus Features/Universal's "Coraline," $44.7 million; and DreamWorks/Paramount's "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," $428.2 million.
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