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 No Fiction? 'Basterds' may become highest grossing QT pic

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Join date : 2009-07-18

PostSubject: No Fiction? 'Basterds' may become highest grossing QT pic   Wed Sep 02, 2009 2:43 am

No Fiction? 'Basterds' may become highest grossing QT pic

By Steven Zeitchik

It's still not likely, but 10 days into the release of "Inglourious Basterds," there's an outside chance the WWII pic could become Quentin Tarantino's biggest grosser ever.

The revenge-fantasy/ensemble drama/film-geek wet dream climbed to $74 million in domestic boxoffice this weekend, leapfrogging both editions of "Kill Bill" (which each earned between $65m and $70m domestically). Now the only target left is "Pulp Fiction," which earned $108 million on its way to Oscar glory.

There are still plenty of caveats to go around, of course. Scoring $100+ million in 1994 means a lot more it does in the ticket-inflated period of 2009. And even with a big international cast and some nice momentum on the global front, "Basterds" is unlikely to catch the $213 million worldwide take of "Fiction."

But for a movie that was greeted with some skepticism when its development was first announced (only a year before it hit theaters), its numbers are no small achievement. In fact, after its strong hold in a quiet weekend (kudos to Weinstein schedulers, even if the dating meant the pic stepped on the company's own "Halloween II"), "Basterds" now ranks as one of the top boxoffice underdog stories of the year, trumping the first-quarter successes of low-mid budget pics like "Taken" and behind only the eye-popping $417m global take of "The Hangover."

And it rose to that status by overcoming obstacles that "Pulp Fiction" never faced. "Basterds" didn't have the festival buzz or the air of the novel that "Fiction" had. And it certainly didn't have anywhere near the critical support. What "Basterds" did have was shrunken Weinstein staff and coffers.

But what it also does have -- and no matter how many messages you send, you won't change our minds -- are the benefits of a technology-enabled word of mouth. That allowed good buzz to spread much faster than normal, pushing numbers quickly up in the first two weeks and in turn helping it hold screens it otherwise might have lost -- a phenomenon you can (now now, put away that skepticism) generally label the Twitter Effect.

Can the movie actually catch "Pulp Fiction"? A tough task. But with the awards talk for Christoph Waltz and a near-certain original-screenplay push for Tarantino, the movie could have legs into the fall, especially if Harvey brings the film back into theaters come nom time, as he's wont to do.

Tarantino suggested when we interviewed him at Cannes that "Basterds" was his creative book-end to "Pulp Fiction." Who could have known it was a financial capper as well.


I posted this also in the IB thread but I am very happy for Brad. This is great news ....
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