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CORRECTED: Tarantino's "Basterds" leads world box office

 Director Quentin Tarantino and cast members Melanie Laurent, Brad Pitt and Diane Kruger pose during a photocall to promote
Director Quentin Tarantino and cast members Melanie Laurent, Brad Pitt and Diane Kruger pose during a photocall to promote 'Inglourious Basterds' in Berlin, July 28, 2009. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
— image credit: Reuters

(Corrects release date of "Pulp Fiction" to 1994 from 1992 in sixth paragraph)

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Director Quentin Tarantino scored the best opening of his colorful career with his World War Two thriller "Inglourious Basterds," which topped the worldwide box office after selling $65.1 million worth of tickets, its distributors said on Sunday.

In the United States and Canada, it totaled $37.6 million, surpassing his previous best of $25.1 million for "Kill Bill Vol. 2" in 2004.

The foreign contribution of $27.5 million from 22 territories was led by No. 1 openings in such countries as France ($6.1 million), Britain ($5.8 million) and Germany ($4.3 million). The film will roll out across the rest of the world over the next three months, wrapping up in Japan in November.

Brad Pitt stars as the leader of a group of Jewish-Americans who carry out violent wartime acts of retribution across Europe. Pundits had forecast a North American opening in the $25 million range.

The film, which reportedly cost $70 million to make, marks a much-needed salve for the struggling independent studio Weinstein Co., which co-financed it with international distributor Universal Pictures, a unit of General Electric Co.

Bob and Harvey Weinstein released Tarantino's 1994 smash "Pulp Fiction" when they headed up Miramax Films. Since launching their new firm in 2005, the Weinsteins have failed to make much of an impact at the box office or the Academy Awards. "Pulp Fiction" remains his biggest film overall with a domestic haul of $107 million.

Last weekend's top film in North America, TriStar Pictures sci-fi thriller "District 9," slipped to No. 2 with $18.9 million. After 10 days, the Peter Jackson-produced film has earned $73.5 million. TriStar is a unit of Sony Corp.

Paramount Pictures' "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," was also down one to No. 3, with $12.5 million. The three-week haul for the action movie stands at $120.5 million. Paramount is a unit of Viacom Inc.

(Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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