TARANTINO WINS THE WAR

Inglourious Basterds blitzed the box office over the weekend, taking in $38.1 million, an exceptional amount for the second half of August, normally regarded as one of the quietest periods of the year. It was also the best opening for director Quentin Tarantino, surpassing his previous best, Kill Bill Vol. 2 ($25.1 million) by 52 percent. Other new films, however, had disappointing ticket sales. Robert Rodriguez's family film Shorts debuted with $6.4 million. Post Grad got a failing grade with $2.7 million, while X Games 3D crashed with just $837,215. Last weekend's box-office winner, District 9, dropped 51 percent to $18.2 million. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra fell 45 percent in its third week to $12.2 million, bringing its domestic tally to $120.2 million. The Time Traveler's Wife slid 48 percent to $9.7 million, bringing its total to $37.2 million after two weeks. For the studios as a whole, revenue for the summer now stands a tad below $4 billion, up 5 percent over last year's at this time. Much of that increase has been generated by higher ticket prices in general and premium pricing for 3D movies in particular. Admissions are actually down nearly 4 percent from last summer (but are up 2.5 percent for the year).

The top ten films over the weekend, according to final figures compiled by Box Office Mojo (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date):

1. Inglourious Basterds, Weinstein Co. $38,054,676, (New); 2. District 9, Sony/Tri-star, $18,213,546, 2 Wks. ($72,804,317); 3. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Paramount, $12,204,927, 3 Wks. ($120,235,874); 4. The Time Traveler's Wife, Warner Bros., $9,742,427, 2 Wks. ($37,165,676); 5. Julie & Julia, Sony, $8,800,674, 2 Wks. ($59,088,965); 6. Shorts, Warner Bros., $6,410,339, (New); 7. G-Force, Disney, $4,114,661, 5 Wks. ($107,224,616); 8. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Warner Bros., $3,478,149, 6 Wks. ($290,238,524); 9. The Ugly Truth, Sony, $2,774,174, 5 Wks. ($82,811,624); 10. The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, Paramount Vantage, $2,710,194, 2 Wks. ($11,247,625).

WILL BASTERDS' SUCCESS SAVE WEINSTEINS? MAYBE NOT

The success of Inglourious Basterds at the box office may not be enough to pull the Weinstein brothers out of their current financial troubles, the Wall Street Journal reported today (Tuesday). Their studio, it noted, had previously been producing one clinker after another, and in the case of Basterds, it co-owns the property equally with Universal, meaning it will only receive half its profits. In an interview with the Journal, Harvey Weinstein said that the success of Basterds demonstrates that they ought to focus on big, filmmaker-driven theatrical releases. He added: "There are plenty of profits from Basterds. Brad [Pitt] and Quentin [Tarantino] and Universal will all get great paydays, and so will we."

SUMMIT TO SPREAD TWILIGHT CONVENTIONS EVERYWHERE

The problem with fan conventions as a promotional device is that they mostly attract only fans in the areas of the country where they're being staged. Summit Entertainment aims to overcome that disadvantage by staging 20 -- count 'em, 20! -- three-day conventions for Twilight fans beginning in March of next year. A news release said that fans will be able to meet such Twilight cast members as Kellan Lutz and Ashley Green. Conspicuous by their absence from the announcement were stars Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner. Summit, which is partnered with Creation Entertainment for the traveling conventions, said that the conventions will also include screenings of clips from the Twilight movies, panel discussions, photo ops, contests, and wine-and-cheese parties. In a statement, Creation V.P. Erin Ferries said, "This is really about different people coming together who share the same passion and love for, not only the books, but the movies, and come to immerse themselves around Twilight."

REDBOX TO IMPLEMENT "QUICKRETURN" FEATURE

DVD kiosks are becoming so popular that there are sometimes long lines of people in front of them waiting to rent or return disks. Redbox, the largest of the kiosk operators, indicated Monday that it plans to address the problem by introducing a "Quickreturn" feature that will separate customers who merely wish to return a disk from those who are renting one. Redbox has acknowledged receiving complaints from customers just wanting to drop off a disk who have had to wait behind those who are brousing the kiosk's display. Redbox said that it is currently testing the "Quickreturn" system at about 20 locations and will expand to "hundreds" by the end of the year. Meanwhile, industry researcher NPD Group said today (Tuesday) that video rental kiosks will account for 30 percent of the U.S. rental market in 2010. Currently they account for 19 percent (versus 36 percent for Netflix and other online subscription services and 45 percent for Blockbuster and other brick-and-mortar stores).

Cinemark Movie Club