According to estimates, Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" is on track to exceed expectations, becoming the director's best debut weekend. The film - starring Brad Pitt, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger and screen stealer Christoph Waltz - grossed an estimated $14,350,000 Friday night, averaging $4,534 from 3,156 screens. That sets The Weinstein Company release up for a possible $33-36 million opening weekend. Expectations had been in the mid-$20 million range.
Only two Tarantino films - both editions of "Kill Bill" - have ever opened over $20 million. The second "Bill" grossed $25,105,949 to hold the director's record. "Basterds" would have to take a remarkable tumble Saturday and Sunday to fail to kill "Bill"'s record. The film will also likely become The Weinstein Company's second best opener - after the $40,222,875 "Scary Movie 4" managed in August, 2006 - and should easily surpass the entire gross of TWC's previous collaboration with Tarantino, "Grindhouse," in its first three days. "Grindhouse" was a double feature Tarantino made with Robert Rodriguez, who oddly enough has a 3-D family film, "Shorts," also opening this weekend (it grossed only $2,050,000 Friday night).
"Pulp Fiction" remains Tarantino's highest grossing film, taking in $107,928,762, without adjusting for inflation.
Check back with indieWIRE Sunday afternoon for a full report on "Basterds"' opening weekend, as well as news on the nine other openers that have yet to report numbers.