The strategy of releasing a made-for-Japan version of Kill Bill Vol. 1 is paying off big time in the world's second largest film market. The film scored a rousing $1,960,630 on 20 major city screens for a $79,564 screen average. This compares with Y74,370,200 ($670,002) on the same number of screens for Tears Of The Sun, which also opened on October 25.

The Japanese version of Kill Bill Vol. 1, which is also scheduled for release in other Asian territories, has been re-edited to better suit local tastes, including the use of colour through - including the bloody House of Blue Leaves scene that was rendered in less gory black-and-white for the US version.

Also, Kill Bill Vol. 1 (in both its versions) not only prominently features local actors, including action icon Sonny Chiba, rising star Chiaki Kuriyama and long-time TV talent Julie Dreyfus, but heavily references Japanese action films and pop tunes that are far more familiar to Japanese than American audiences.

Familiarity breeds popularity - the film was number one in Pia magazine's weekly audience exit poll, indicating that it is genuinely entertaining - not just flattering - Japanese film fans.