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Opening day: Big Friday means 'Inglourious Basterds' could do more than $35 million

August 22, 2009 |  9:28 am

InglouriousPitt "Inglourious Basterds" is off to a strong start, selling a studio-estimated $14.3 million worth of tickets on its opening day in the U.S. and Canada.

If it matches the performance of previous Quentin Tarantino-directed films, or recent male-oriented action movies like "District 9," that means the movie probably will earn $37 million or $38 million for the weekend.

Even if word of mouth is weak and Saturday ticket sales fall off significantly from Friday, it will almost certainly still exceed $30 million.

That's good news for the two beleaguered studios behind the movie, Weinstein Co. and Universal Pictures, signaling that their $70-million investment in production of the World War II action movie is starting off on the right track.

Not too surprisingly, with "Inglourious" likely taking much of the male audience, last weekend's No. 1 movie, "District 9," declined a sizable 61% from its opening Friday to $5.5 million. Though its Saturday and Sunday drops probably won't be as severe, the Sony-distributed science fiction picture probably will gross under $20 million for the weekend, indicating it won't have a "Star Trek"-like run driven by phenomenal buzz.

"The Time Traveler's Wife" declined 57% to $3.3 million. That's a bit more troubling for Warner Bros., because its $39-million romantic drama earned only a so-so $18.6 million on its debut weekend. Many other female-targeted movies, like "Julie & Julia" and "The Proposal," have seen much smaller second weekend drops this summer.

-- Ben Fritz

Photo: Brad Pitt in "Inglourious Basterds." Credit: Francois Duhamel / Weinstein Co.

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