''Kill Bill -- Vol. 1'' will be alive and well at the box office this weekend, as Quentin Tarantino finally unleashes his fourth film onto the drooling public.
''Bill,'' an ultraviolent, eye-popping action flick starring Uma Thurman and Lucy Liu, has been amassing buzz for months, and early reviews (including an A- from EW's Owen Gleiberman) indicate it doesn't disappoint. Despite its R rating, action fans will be lining up for this one, resulting in an opening in the $20 million range.
Last week's No. 1 film, ''The School of Rock,'' should see a nice hold in its second weekend, dropping 35 percent to $13 million, while the megawatt star power of George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones should help their twisted romance, ''Intolerable Cruelty,'' open in third place. The Coen brothers should see their biggest debut yet as ''Cruelty'' will open with about $12 million.
It's tough to be a horror film when you're opening against ''Kill Bill,'' but premiering in only about 1,500 theaters, ''House of the Dead'' (as if we need to give any plot details with a title like that) should benefit from its ubiquitous MTV ad campaign and debut with around $10 million.
Denzel Washington's thriller ''Out of Time'' will round out the top five, slipping 45 percent to $9 million. Unless, that is, the family flick ''Good Boy!,'' featuring the voice of Matthew Broderick, sneaks in there just above Denzel. Without much in the way of family-friendly fare right now, the canine comedy should sniff out about $8 million.