Audiences were in the mood for a "gutsy" Tarantino movie this weekend.Quentin Tarantino's kung fu chopping, samurai sword slashing, body part flying Kill Bill Vol. 1 filleted the competition this weekend, opening in the top spot with a respectable $22.6 million* and beating out last week's champ, School of Rock, which dropped to second place with $15.4 million.While far from a blockbuster debut, Kill Bill delivered solidly at the box office for a genre picture steeped in violence, Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracker Exhibitor Relations, told The Associated Press. "Kill Bill is a very specialized film. It appeals to an important segment of the audience, but kind of a limited audience," Dergarabedian said. "Grandma does not want to see Kill Bill."Making his way back into theaters after a six-year absence, Tarantino's blood-soaked tribute to grindhouse cinema now stands as his best opener ever, topping his last film, the 1997 Jackie Brown ($12.8 million) and the 1994 Pulp Fiction ($9.3 million). Kill Bill can also claim the fourth best October opener ever, besting School of Rock, which took the fifth best October slot last week at $19.6 million. Both films follow the likes of October champ Red Dragon, which debuted in 2002 with $36.5 million.Tarantino and Miramax chose to chop three-hour Kill Bill into two parts rather than dish it out to audiences in one big gulp, and exit polls indicated 90 percent of the audience looking forward to Kill Bill Vol. 2, Rick Sands, Miramax chief operating officer, told AP. "The gamble paid off," Sands said. "We think it was a smart decision to split the movie." Vol. 2 opens in February.Newcomers Intolerable Cruelty, the eccentric Coen brothers' stab at a classic battle of the sexes, debuted in third place with $13.1 million, while Good Boy!, a spirited dog tail, er tale, opened with $13 million. Last week's No. 2, the noirish Out of Time, rounded out the top five with $8.6 million.The other notable opener this week was Clint Eastwood's taut Oscar bait Mystic River, which premiered in limited theaters but managed to take in $591,390 over the weekend.THE TOP TENMiramax Films scores again. The studio's R rated Kill Bill Vol. 1 premiered at the top of the box office this week with an ESTIMATED $22.6 million in 3,102 theaters. The film took in $7,312 per theater, making it the highest average of any film playing wide this week.The revenge tale centers on the Bride, a highly trained former assassin looking for a little payback after being left for dead on her wedding day by those she once worked with. Directed by Tarantino, it stars Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah and David Carradine.Losing its No. 1 title, Paramount Pictures' PG-13 rated rock 'n' roll comedy School of Rock, still managed to jam in second place with an ESTIMATED $15.4 million (-22%) in 2,929 theaters (+315 theaters; $5,258 per theater). Starring Jack Black as a hell raising guitarist who impersonates a substitute teacher and turns a class of high achieving fifth graders into high-voltage rock 'n' rollers, the film's cume is approximately $39.5 million.Directed by Richard Linklater, it stars Black, Joan Cusack and Michael White. Universal Pictures' PG 13 rated offbeat romantic comedy Intolerable Cruelty opened in third place with an ESTIMATED $13.1 million in 2,564 theaters, averaging $5,109 per theater.The story follows a successful divorce attorney who meets his match when he runs into a professional divorcee.Produced by Ethan Coen and directed by Joel Coen, it stars George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones.*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.MGM's sweet-natured PG rated Good Boy! debuted at No. 4 with an ESTIMATED $13 million in 3,225 theaters, averaging $4,031 per theater.Owen, a 12-year-old who has been working as the neighborhood dog walker to earn the privilege of getting a dog of his own, finds the new dog of his dreams. Only this dog is different: for one, Owen can talk with him, and two, he isn't from Earth.Directed by John Hoffman, it stars Liam Aiken and the vocal talents of Matthew Broderick, Brittany Murphy, Carl Reiner and Vanessa Redgrave as the dog Hubble and his four-legged friends.MGM Pictures' R rated police thriller Out of Time fell several spots to the fifth spot in its second week with an ESTIMATED $8.6 million (-47%) at 3,076 theaters (unchanged; $2,796 per theater). Its cume is $28.7 million. Directed by Carl Franklin, it stars Washington, Eva Mendes, Sanaa Lathan and Dean Cain.Artisan's R rated horror flick House of the Dead debuted at No. 6 with an ESTIMATED $5.5 million in 1,520 theaters, averaging $3,618 per theater. The film follows a group of unsuspecting teens who stumble upon the living dead after one of them is killed during a rave at an abandoned house. The others band together to get revenge on the monsters responsible.Directed by Uwe Boll, it stars Michael Ecklund, Enuka Okuma, David Palffy and Jurgen Prochnow.Universal Pictures' PG-13 rated jungle actioner The Rundown, dropped to seventh place in its third weekend with an ESTIMATED $5.3 million (-45%) in 2,823 theaters (-331 theaters; $1,877 per theater). Its cume is approximately $40.3 million.Directed by Peter Berg, it stars The Rock, Seann William Scott, Rosario Dawson and Christopher Walken.Buena Vista's PG-13 rated romantic comedy Under the Tuscan Sun fell four notches to No. 8 in its third week with an ESTIMATED $4.8 million (-38%) in 1,701 theaters (+4 theaters; $2,822 per theater). Its cume is approximately $28.2 million. Directed by Audrey Wells, it stars Diane Lane, Sandra Oh, Vincent Riotta and Raoul Bova. New Line's PG rated family drama Secondhand Lions also dropped four spots to take ninth place in its fourth week with an ESTIMATED $3.2 million (-37%) in 2,563 theaters (-469 theaters; $1,278 per theater). Its cume is approximately $35.3 million.Directed by Tim McCanlies, it stars Haley Joel Osment, Robert Duvall and Michael Caine.Focus Features' R rated dramedy Lost In Translation slid three positions to round out the top 10 in its fifth week with an ESTIMATED $2.8 million (-31%) in 882 theaters (+18 theaters; $3,240 per theater average). Its cume is approximately $18.1 million.Directed by Sofia Coppola, it stars Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.OTHER OPENINGSWarner Bros.' intensely dramatic R rated Mystic River debuted in 13 theaters on Wednesday and managed to take in $591,390 over the weekend, with a whopping average of $45,492 per theater. Its cume since Wednesday is $778,997.The film centers on three childhood friends who share a tragic event from the past and cross paths again 25 years later when one of the men's daughters is found brutally murdered.Directed by Clint Eastwood, it stars Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Laura Linney and Marcia Gay Harden. WEEKEND COMPARISON The Top 12 films this weekend grossed an ESTIMATED $98.7 million, up 22.48 percent from last weekend's $80.5 million. The Top 12 movies were also up 5.72 percent from this time last year when they took in $93.3 million.Last year, Universal's R rated thriller Red Dragon stayed at No. 1 in its second week with $17.6 million in 3,363 theaters ($5,250 per theater); Buena Vista's PG-13 rated comedy Sweet Home Alabama also stayed in second place in its third week with $14.2 million in 3,313 theaters ($4,305 per theater); and Fox Seachlight's PG-13 Brown Sugar opened in third place with $10.7 million in 1,372 theaters ($7,827 per theater).
Go to our Box Office section for recent weekend movie analysis.
There was lots of slicing and dicing at the box office this weekend as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre's Leatherface took on Kill Bill's Bride, proving that samurai sword is no match for a grungy power tool.
New Line Cinema proved with its remake of Tobe Hooper's low-budget 1974 cult horror film Texas Chainsaw Massacre that there is strength in a name. The thriller, rated R for strong horror violence/gore, language and drug content, took in an insatiable $29.1 million* over the weekend, which is not surprising considering the film scored very well in its preview screenings, especially with under-25 horror aficionados.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre's bloody take was also enough to make it the second best October opener of all time, bumping the comedy 2000 comedy Meet the Parents to third place. TCM follows the likes of October champ Red Dragon, which debuted in 2002 with $36.5 million; the 2000 comedy Meet the Parents, with $28.6 million; the 2002 comedy Jackass: The Movie, with $22.7 million; and the 2001 drama Training Day with $22.5 million.
Last week's box office champ, Quentin Tarantino's equally brutal R rated thriller Kill Bill Vol. 1, wasn't able to fend off Leatherface's onslaught. The film came in second with a tame $12.5 million.
This week's only other new wide release, the courtroom thriller Runaway Jury, debuted in third place with an expected $12.1 million, while the Jack Black comedy School of Rock rolled into fourth place with a rockin' $11.3 million. Clint Eastwood's Oscar buzz pic Mystic River, which took in an impressive $45,491 per-screen average when it debuted in 13 theaters last week, rounded out the Top Five in its first week of wide release with $10.3 million.
THE TOP TEN
New Line Cinema's R rated horror The Texas Chainsaw Massacre debuted with an ESTIMATED $29.1 million in 3,016 theaters with a tangible $9,649 per theater average-the highest of any film playing wide this week.
In the film, a free-spirited road trip across Texas runs headlong into madness for five friends when they encounter a bizarre family and a chainsaw-wielding man known as Leatherface.
Directed by Marcus Nispel, it stars Jessica Biel, Eric Balfour, Mike Vogel, Erica Leerhsen and Andrew Bryniarski.
Miramax Films' R rated Kill Bill Vol. 1, last week's box office champ, came in second in its second week with an ESTIMATED $12.5 million (-43%) in 3,102 theaters (unchanged, $4,030 per theater). It's cume is approximately $43.3
Directed by Tarantino, it stars Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah and David Carradine.
Twentieth Century Fox's R rated courtroom thriller Runaway Jury opened in third place with an ESTIMATED $12.1 million in 2,815 theaters with a $4,298 per theater average.
In the film, the latest Grisham adaptation, a young widow brings a civil suit against a powerful gun manufacturing corporation she holds responsible for the death of her husband.
Directed by Gary Fleder, it stars John Cusack, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman and Rachel Weisz.
Paramount Pictures' PG-13 rated comedy School of Rock, dropped two positions to No. 4 in its third week with an ESTIMATED $11.3 million (-27%) in 2,951 theaters (+22 theaters; $3,829 per theater). Its cume is approximately $55.1 million.
Directed by Richard Linklater, it stars Black, Joan Cusack and Michael White.
Warner Bros.' R rated drama Mystic River expanded in its second week to round out the Top Five with an ESTIMATED $10.3 million in 1,467 theaters (+1,454 theaters; $7,059 per theater). Its cume is approximately $13.4 million.
The film centers on three childhood friends who share a tragic event from the past and cross paths again 25 years later when one of the men's daughters is found brutally murdered.
Directed by Clint Eastwood, it stars Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Laura Linney and Marcia Gay Harden.
MGM's PG rated canine comedy Good Boy! fell three spots to come in sixth in its third week with an ESTIMATED $9 million (-31%) in 3,225 theaters (unchanged; $2,791 per theater). Its cume is approximately $25.7 million.
Directed by John Hoffman, it stars Liam Aiken and the vocal talents of Matthew Broderick, Brittany Murphy, Carl Reiner and Vanessa Redgrave as the dog Hubble and his four-legged friends.
*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.
Universal Pictures' PG 13 rated romantic comedy Intolerable Cruelty dropped three rungs to place seventh in its second week with an ESTIMATED $6.8 million (-45%) in 2,570 theaters (+6 theaters, $2,680 per theater). Its cume is approximately $23 million.
Produced by Ethan Coen and directed by Joel Coen, it stars George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
MGM Pictures' R rated police thriller Out of Time fell three notches to eighth place in its third week with an ESTIMATED $4.1 million (-52%) at 2,344 theaters (-732; $1,749 per theater). Its cume is approximately $35.3 million.
Directed by Carl Franklin, it stars Washington, Eva Mendes, Sanaa Lathan and Dean Cain.
Buena Vista's PG-13 rated romantic comedy Under the Tuscan Sun fell five notches to No. 9 in its fourth week with an ESTIMATED $3.4 million (-31%) in 1,663 theaters (-38 theaters; $2,044 per theater). Its cume is approximately $33.7 million.
Directed by Audrey Wells, it stars Diane Lane, Sandra Oh, Vincent Riotta and Raoul Bova.
Universal Pictures' PG-13 rated jungle actioner The Rundown fell three rungs in its fourth place week to round out the Top Ten with an ESTIMATED $2.8 million (-45%) in 2,099 theaters (-724 theaters; $1,355 per theater). Its cume is approximately $44.5 million.
Directed by Peter Berg, it stars The Rock, Seann William Scott, Rosario Dawson and Christopher Walken.
Buena Vista' PG rated biopic Veronica Guerin debuted in 472 theaters with $603,000 with a soft $1,278 per theater average.
In the film, set in the mid-1990s, journalist Veronica Guerin covers the powerful drug lords battling for control of the street of Dublin, Ireland.
Directed by Joel Schumacher, it stars Cate Blanchett, Gerard McSorely and Ciaran Hinds.
Focus Features' R rated biopic Sylvia debuted in three theaters with an ESTIMATED $52,000 with an impressive $17,333 per theater average.
The film is a biopic of American poet Sylvia Plath and her turbulent marriage to a future poet laureate of England, Ted Hughes.
Directed by Christine Jeffs, the film stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Daniel Craig.
United Artists' PG-13 teen drama Pieces of April opened in six theaters with $48,000 with a strong $8,000 per theater average.
In the film, 21-year-old April Burns invites her estranged, straight-laced family for Thanksgiving dinner for a disastrous evening.
Directed by Peter Hedges, it stars Katie Holmes, Patricia Clarkson, Oliver Platt and Derek Luke.
The Top 12 films this weekend grossed an ESTIMATED $105.2 million, up 7.5 percent from last weekend's $73.5 million. The Top 12 movies were also up 43 percent from this time last year when they took in $97.9 million.
Last year, Dreamworks' R rated thriller The Ring debuted at No. 1 with $15 million in 1,981 theaters ($7,580 per theater); Buena Vista's PG-13 rated comedy Sweet Home Alabama also stayed in second place in its fourth week with $9.5 million in 3,282 theaters ($2,913 per theater); and Universal's R rated thriller Red Dragon followed in third place in its third week with $8.7 million in 3,307 theaters ($2,650 per theater).