Quentin Tarantino stormed back into North American theatres for thefirst time in almost six years with his best ever bow as Kill Bill Vol 1 opened top on an estimated $22.1m.
The first instalment of the $55m two-parter looks likely to becomeone of Tarantino's best performers and will chase down the $108m gross set by1994's Pulp Fiction,which opened on $9.3m - as did Jackie Brown in 1997.
Prospects for Kill Bill Vol 2, which is scheduled for a Feb 202004 release in the US, look good following enthusiastic exit polls reported byMiramax and very strong reviews. Miramax and Tarantino decided to split thefilm because of its three-hour length.
Uma Thurman plays a betrayed assassin who wreaks bloody revenge onthe people who tried to kill her on her wedding day. Lucy Liu, Vivica A Fox andMichael Madsen co-star and the martial arts romp averaged $7,312 from 3,102venues.
Paramount's popular comedy School Of Rock dropped one place to second, adding$15.4m for $39.6m in its second week.
Universal's Intolerable Cruelty, the Coen Brothers' black comedy about apredatory divorce lawyer and a serial gold-digger, opened third on a slightlydisappointing $13.1m. However it enjoyed very good reviews, averaging $5,109from 2,564 sites.
George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones star, with support fromGeoffrey Rush, Billy Bob Thornton and Cedric The Entertainer.
Opening in fourth on $13m was MGM's children's film Good Boy! about an alien scout that masquerades asa talking dog.
Directed by John Robert Hoffman and starring Liam Aiken and thevocal talents of Matthew Broderick, it divided the critics and averaged $4,031from 3,225 sites.
MGM's thriller Out Of Time fell three places to fifth, adding $8.6m for $28.7m in itssecond week.
Artisan's House Of The Dead opened in sixth on $5.5m. Adapted from the SEGA video gameabout an island inhabited by zombies, the film, which was slaughtered by thecritics, averaged $3,618 from 1,520 sites.
Uwe Boll directed House Of The Dead, which stars Jonathan Cherry, JuergenProchnow and Tyron Leitso.
Focus Features' Lost In Translation continued its strong box office run asit added $2.9m for $18.2m in its fifth week. It slipped three places to 10th.
Overall the top 12 films grossed $98.7m, up 6% from the sameperiod last year.
Next weekend's releases include 20th Century Fox/Regency'sthriller Runaway Jury,starring John Cusack, Gene Hackman and Rachel Weisz; and The Texas ChainsawMassacre, New Line'sremake of the classic 1974 splatter film starring Jessica Biel and JonathanTucker.
Estimated Top Ten US Oct 10-12 2003
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekendgross/Estimated total to date
1 (-) Kill Bill Vol 1 (Miramax) Miramax International $22.1m -
2 (1) School Of Rock (Paramount) UIP $15.4m $39.6m
3(-) Intolerable Cruelty(Universal) UIP $13.1m -
4 (-) Good Boy! (MGM) Fox International $13m -
5 (2) Out Of Time (MGM/UA) Fox/Focus $8.6m $28.7m
6 (-) House Of The Dead (Artisan) Interactive Film Sales Intnl $5.5m -
7 (3) The Rundown (Universal) CTFDI $5.3m $40.3m
8 (4) Under The Tuscan Sun (Buena Vista) BVI $4.8m $28.2m
9 (5) Secondhand Lions (New Line) NLI $3.3m $35.4m
10 (7) LostIn Translation (Focus)Focus $2.9m $18.2m