Quentin Tarantino's first film for six years, Kill Bill, was the most popular movie in the US in its opening weekend.
Kill Bill has been split into two separate films
The first volume of the action epic took $22.7m (£13.7m) in its first three days, its distributor said, pushing School of Rock down to number two.
But George Clooney and Catherine Zeta Jones' comedy Intolerable Cruelty - directed by the Coen brothers - only managed to enter in third place.
Kill Bill is being released in two parts and has split critics and fans.
It stars Uma Thurman as an elite assassin on a mission of revenge against her former employer, Bill, played by David Carradine.
It also stars Charlie's Angels actress Lucy Liu, plus Daryl Hannah and Michael Madsen.
NORTH AMERICAN BOX OFFICE TOP FIVE
1. Kill Bill Volume I
2. School of Rock (above)
3. Intolerable Cruelty
4. Good Boy!
5. Out of Time
Source: Exhibitor Relations Co
The second half of the story is expected to be released next February.
About nine out of 10 people who saw Kill Bill over the weekend said they would return to see the second installment, according to a survey carried out by film studio Miramax.
"The gamble paid off - we think it was a smart decision to split the movie," Miramax chief operating officer Rick Sands said.
In the UK, Kill Bill is showing at a single cinema in central London, before opening nationwide on Friday.
School of Rock, starring Jack Black as a teacher who forms a rock band with his pupils, took $15.4m (£9.3m) between Friday and Monday after topping the chart last week.
And Intolerable Cruelty, which stars Zeta Jones as a gold-digger who marries rich men to get big divorce settlements, took $13.1m (£7.9m).
It was made by Joel and Ethan Coen, who were behind cult hits like Fargo, The Big Lebowski and O Brother, Where Art Thou?
And it was just ahead of Good Boy!, about a talking dog from outer space, with $13m.