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Kick-Ass Takes Number One After All

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 19, 2010 at 7:35AM

For the second weekend in a row, the top two films were in such a neck-and-neck race that the Sunday box office estimates were turned around on Monday. So this weekend, Lionsgate's Kick-Ass, while not scoring the $20-30 million weekend some were forecasting, did win the weekend b.o. derby. UPDATE: According to Box Office Mojo, Thursday night numbers are included in the total.
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Thompson on Hollywood

For the second weekend in a row, the top two films were in such a neck-and-neck race that the Sunday box office estimates were turned around on Monday. So this weekend, Lionsgate's Kick-Ass, while not scoring the $20-30 million weekend some were forecasting, did win the weekend b.o. derby. UPDATE: According to Box Office Mojo, Thursday night numbers are included in the total.

Matthew Vaughn's R-rated comic-book actioner grossed $19,828,687 for the weekend, squeaking past the 3D animated family film How to Train Your Dragon, which has been building steam over the past month. According to a Lionsgate press release, thanks to Kick-Ass and Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married, Too? the indie distrib booked 6500 screens last weekend, or 16% of the theaters in the U.S. and Canada.

Clearly, the distrib is seeking to put on its best face at a time when it is fighting for survival against billionaire investor and board member Carl Icahn's bid to take over the company. Lionsgate needed a big win, not a so-so opening. If the company had expectations of a super-score, the film's tracking never indicated more than a young male demo. Because the company needed a bigger hit, they tried to make it so, buoyed by its strong reception at Comic-Con, Butt-Numb-a-Thon and SXSW. I never thought the they'd pull women, even if their research showed that it played for them. Problem is, perception of a soft opener is the last thing Lionsgate needs at this moment.

Kick-Ass is fantastic, highly original entertainment," stated Lionsgate Co-COO Joe Drake, "and our marketing and distribution teams have brilliantly positioned it for a long and successful run. That kind of run is precisely what we are seeing on the international front, where Kick-Ass has demonstrated a very strong hold at the box office; in Great Britain alone, it’s taken in nearly $13.8 million in 17 days.”

Lionsgate has to bank that its upcoming slate does well, including the Robert Luketic romantic comedy Killers, starring Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl (June 4); Sylvester Stallone’s action/thriller The Expendables, starring Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li and Mickey Rourke (August 13); and Daniel Stamm’s horrific The Last Exorcism, produced by Eli Roth (August 27).

Here's the Kick-Ass trailer:

This article is related to: Franchises, Genres, Headliners, Independents, Box Office, Kick-Ass, Comics, Action, Nic Cage, Lionsgate/Roadside


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.