'Basterds' leads boxoffice Friday

Tarantino war pic soars to $14.3 million on first day

World War II action drama “Inglourious Basterds” strutted into the marketplace like a theatrical blue blood Friday, registering an estimated $14.3 million on just its first day in release.

The Weinstein Co.-distributed Brad Pitt starrer now seems a lock to gross more than $30 million through the weekend--much more if its first-day momentum holds.

“Basterds” was directed by Quentin Tarantino, who brings his typically gore-filled perspective to a story about a fictional band of Jewish-American soldiers fighting in Nazi-occupied France.

The “Basterds” release has drawn particularly close scrutiny due to conventional wisdom that the Weinsteins need the film to succeed in order to maintain a firm fiscal footing with their company. Execs insist any financial concerns have been exaggerated.

Sony’s scifi actioner “District 9” was the second-highest Friday grosser with $5.5 million, or 61% less than on the same day a week earlier. That gave the Peter Jackson-produced pic an eight-day cume of $60.1 million.

Warner Bros. rung up $2.1 million Friday with Robert Rodriguez’s PG-rated fantasy “Shorts.” That placed it sixth in the daily boxoffice rankings, though the film surely will do better once grosses from family-friendly weekend matinees kick in on Saturday and Sunday.

Fox Searchlight’s youth comedy “Post Grad” fetched $1 million to bow in eighth place. And Disney’s sports documentary “X Games 3D: The Movie” registered just $285,000 from 1,399 3D venues to unspool far below the top rankings.