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New Tarantino Film to Be Released in 2 Parts (Kill Bill update)
New York Times ^ | July 16, 2003 | By LAURA M. HOLSON

Posted on 07/16/2003 1:52:15 PM PDT by weegee

LOS ANGELES, July 15 — Miramax Films will take the unusual and potentially risky move of releasing "Kill Bill," the much-anticipated Quentin Tarantino martial arts action-adventure film, as two movies, the first to open in the fall. Miramax will in effect be taking a three-hour film with a 200-page script and turning it into a serial.

Harvey Weinstein, a co-founder of Miramax, which is financing the film, said in an interview on Monday that the first installment would be in theaters on Oct. 10. The second release date is in still being negotiated, but it could be two to six months later, he said.

To many in Hollywood, the decision will come as a surprise. Mr. Weinstein, who in Hollywood is known as "Harvey Scissorhands," after the title character in the movie "Edward Scissorhands," has a reputation for forcing directors to cut both costs and the lengths of their movies. Mr. Tarantino spent 155 days shooting the film, well more than planned and longer than usual for most films.

But Mr. Weinstein said Mr. Tarantino was something of a special case. The popularity of his violent yet original 1994 film, "Pulp Fiction," helped put Miramax on the map and generated an abundance of cash to help the studio bankroll other movies.

"Miramax is the house Quentin Tarantino built," Mr. Weinstein said. And because of this director's stature he was granted "carte blanche," Mr. Weinstein added.

"Kill Bill'` is Mr. Tarantino's first foray into action filmmaking. His limited body of work also includes the equally violent yet critically praised "Reservoir Dogs."

When Mr. Tarantino first approached Mr. Weinstein about doing "Kill Bill" several years ago, it was with the condition that he be allowed to film the whole 200-page script that he had written. When Mr. Weinstein visited the set in its last month of shooting late last year, Mr. Tarantino said in a statement, Mr. Weinstein brought up the idea of splitting it in two.

No decision was made at the time although Mr. Tarantino shot two opening-credit sequences, he said. Mr. Weinstein said it was not until he visited Los Angeles three weeks ago, when Mr. Tarantino showed him more than an hour and a half of the film, that the two decided on the two-film approach.

"Kill Bill" is the story, told in chapters, of the world's deadliest female assassin, who survives being shot on her wedding day and, after five years in a coma, seeks revenge on the man who tried to kill her. The film's samurai-style fight sequences were filmed largely in China and take place in everything from a nightclub to a snow-covered garden to a suburban home.

"There were no obstacles involved in splitting up `Kill Bill' at all because I've always designed the movie, thought about the film, as malleable in any number of versions," Mr. Tarantino said in his statement. That includes different versions for Asia, America and Europe.

The serial approach to "Kill Bill" has parallels to the making of the second and third installments of the "Matrix" series and "The Lord of The Rings" trilogy, which were filmed as one story but divided into parts and have been released on a staggered schedule. But those films were conceived as multipart releases; "Kill Bill" was not.

Despite the success of the "Matrix" and the "Lord of the Ring" franchises, Miramax's decision carries risks, given the box-office figures for a number of sequels, prequels and serials. Several have been disappointments this summer, including "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle," which received heavy publicity and generally favorable reviews as an enjoyable romp but which still failed to attract crowds. The serial films that have done well at the box office, like the "Matrix" series, have had built-in audiences already interested in the story. "Kill Bill," on the other hand, is from Mr. Tarantino's original screenplay.

Mitigating some of the risk is the movie's price tag, which Mr. Weinstein estimated at more than $55 million, not including marketing costs: less than what many blockbusters cost because many of the actors worked for union-scale wages and because production costs in China are lower than in the United States.

What Miramax and Mr. Tarantino are betting on is that the director's avid fan base and the pent-up interest in "Kill Bill" — which has taken almost a decade to make and is Mr. Tarantino's fifth movie — will pack theaters not once, but twice. Still Mr. Weinstein said he was worried about overselling this film, calling it "just a fun B-movie."

The question is: Fun for whom? "Kill Bill," not unlike other films that Mr. Tarantino has made, is intensely violent. That will limit the people who can see it, particularly the younger action-film audience that studios covet. In one spectacular fight in the "House of Blue Leaves" nightclub, nearly 100 people are killed, according to one person who worked on the set in China. Much has been made of the notion that Mr. Tarantino wanted the blood to be a particularly vibrant red.

"Tarantino is something of an innovator who takes audiences into different realms," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations, a Los Angeles company that analyzes box-office returns.

Miramax has yet to work out the actors' salaries for the two movies, Mr. Weinstein said. The studio is renegotiating contracts, including one for Uma Thurman, who stars as the bride who is shot, and another for Lucy Liu, who plays a member of Bill's hit squad.

Two Hollywood executives familiar with the contracts said the two actresses would receive a percentage of the box-office revenue. Because the contracts were originally based on only one movie, they will have to be changed to reflect the two-part scheme, the executives said. Stars' salary demands can often derail a movie, but Mr. Weinstein expressed confidence that a new agreement would be reached since the actors will not have to shoot new scenes.

TOPICS: Music/Entertainment; TV/Movies
KEYWORDS: 5678s; bmovies; carradine; china; chinesemovies; cultmovies; davidcarradine; doublefeature; driveinmovies; jackiebrown; killbill; movie; movies; pulpfiction; quentintarantino; quentintarentino; reserviordogs; sequel; sonnychiba; tarantino
NY Times has the trailer here in several formats:

There is an official movie site here (in Japan). It uses shockwave and has some sort of a "game". The keyboard can be used to spell words, some of which will trigger special events.

1 posted on 07/16/2003 1:52:15 PM PDT by weegee
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To: All
2 posted on 07/16/2003 1:53:52 PM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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The Japan site is here
3 posted on 07/16/2003 1:54:32 PM PDT by weegee
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To: weegee
Clarification from Ain't it Cool News (and Jay Knowles):

Father Geek here... Miramax made it offical today breaking the news to the New York Times... KILL BILL will be two (2) action/adventure Motion Pictures, not a single one of epic length... We here at Geek Headquarters knew this as fact 3 weeks ago from several phone calls we recieved from insiders with that company and Tarantino's production company. Harry wanted to hold off on the announcement until we could include the actual release dates of BOTH flicks, buuuuuut since the Times has made it offical and no longer just fan rumor, I'll post up their story.

However, the word given to us 3 weeks ago in those phone conversations is that the second film (basicly all ready to go) would more than likely follow very, very closely the release of the first flick... six (6), or maybe even just five (5) weeks later. This is something Quentin wants very bad (a speedy second release)... soooo there will be NO 3 year wait, or a one year wait, or even a 6 month wait...

I think that they should be released as a "double feature" (with an intermission) since Kill Bill is a tribute to the drive-in action films of the 1970s (such as Sonny Chiba who even appears in the movie) and the arty gangster films of Beat Takeshi, Takashi Miike, and Seijun Suzuki.

4 posted on 07/16/2003 2:14:42 PM PDT by weegee
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To: Archangelsk
5 posted on 07/16/2003 2:16:33 PM PDT by weegee
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To: weegee
Thanks for the ping, it will still be the coolest, damn movie this year.
6 posted on 07/16/2003 4:05:46 PM PDT by Archangelsk ("I love big mouthed frogs. Especially when they're sauteed." The Alligator)
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The "keywords" that work on that japanese site so far are:

BILL (a less graphic version of the Japanese teaser trailer with a sword being plunged into/pulled out of somebody)
KILL (the more graphic version of the Japanese teaser trailer, the swored entry/exit is not obscured)
QUENTIN (a screen with shots of Mr. Tarantino)
STORY (a text sequence in Japanese, possibly a bio)
TARANTINO (looks to be the newest Japanese teaser trailer)
WALL (a slideshow of shots of a Kill Bill billboard being installed)

ALSO Clicking the 100 keystrokes (cumulative) and clicking the 20 mouse clicks will load another Shockwave sequence - a poster that is too big to display in the box, you must slide it around (click and throw according to the directions). In one corner, all of the keywords can be seen.

The following letters will not be used to "start" a keyword(since they appear in other words):

AB E I KL NO QRSTU W Y If the word is correct, it will load additional content; wait for it to download. CDFGHJMPVX and Z could all still become keywords.

Also discovered that is the Miramax domestic site.

It has its own events (cause by mouse clicks). Some of the text was in Japanese making it harder to understand than the Japanese site. Not as interesting as the Japanese site. This site also has some discussion forums but I don't find them to be any better than AintItCoolNews.

7 posted on 07/17/2003 2:11:24 PM PDT by weegee
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To: Archangelsk
More keywords have been added at the Japanese site:

They have started to make keywords dependent on the next letter typed. According to the lead in screen they are:

- Introduction (a screen of Japanese text that can be scrolled on the right hand side of the flash box)

- Video (some very brief video clips of promotional interviews in Japanese with Sonny Chiba and others)

- Cast & Crew (I couldn't get this one to work, I couldn't get the flash app to recognize the &, I get a 7).
8 posted on 09/22/2003 2:11:53 PM PDT by weegee
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To: weegee
Oops. That is Cast & Staff (with the spaces) and I did get the & to work.
9 posted on 09/22/2003 2:14:03 PM PDT by weegee
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