Kill Bill Slays Competition

Miramax’s Kill Bill Vol. 1. easily took the No. 1 spot at the North American box office over the weekend with an estimated $22 million take. Quentin Tarantino’s gory, tongue-in-cheek revenge story pays homage to ‘70s Kung Fu flicks and spaghetti westerns, and features a lengthy anime sequence revolving around the character played by Lucy Liu.

Hats off to the writer/director or bringing anime to a more mainstream venue. The gloriously hand-drawn animation was accomplished by Production I.G., founded by producer/director Mitsuhisa Ishikawa and character designer Takayuki Goto. The studio most recently produced the feature Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (1998), the CG-2D hybrid Blood: The Last Vampire (2000) and the series Kaidomaru, and also creates games for Sony PlayStation, Namco, Sega Saturn, and Microsoft Xbox.

While Vol. 1 works fine on its own, fans will have to wait a few months to find out how the story ends. Kill Bill Vol. 2 is slated to hit screens on Feb. 20, 2004.

Paramount’s Jack Black vehicle School of Rock slips to No. 2 with an estimated $15.4 million for its second weekend, bringing its cume to around $40 million. Universal’s Cohen Brothers romantic comedy Intolerable Cruelty, starring George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones, managed a third place finish with around $13 million.

Despite being panned by critics, MGM’s Good Boy benefited from being the only new family film in release. The movie about talking dogs from outer space dug up a respectable $13 million box office bone and out-performed Artisan’s video game adaptation House of the Dead, which opened in just 1,520 theaters and brought in just over $5 million to finish in sixth place behind MGM’s Denzel Washington thriller Out of Time ($8.6 million est.).