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Lionsgate Buys Comic-Con Hit Kick-Ass

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 17, 2009 at 4:41AM

As I suspected, Lionsgate has acquired Matthew Vaughn's violent action comedy Kick-Ass, which wowed audiences at Hall H in Comic-Con. It was one of several indie pics that used Comic-Con fan reaction to try to land an distributor. In this case, the strategy worked.
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Thompson on Hollywood

As I suspected, Lionsgate has acquired Matthew Vaughn's violent action comedy Kick-Ass, which wowed audiences at Hall H in Comic-Con. It was one of several indie pics that used Comic-Con fan reaction to try to land an distributor. In this case, the strategy worked.

Vaughn exhorted fans to give his film (adapted by Jane Goldman from the Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. comic) a thumbs-up on the 11-minutes he showed, and they enthusiastically did. The crowd gasped with surprise at clips from this audacious, smart action satire, which throws conventional expectations out the window: Nic Cage shoots at his 14-year-old daughter (Chloe Moretz)—to teach her how to take a hit in a bullet-proof vest; a caped would-be superhero leaps off a tall building with a single bound—and plummets to his death. The movie is funny—but it’s also the sort of crazy execution-dependent picture that distribs insist on seeing in full. Even if it plays great at Comic-Con.

I spoke to Lionsgate's Joe Drake at the Con, and he was definitely tracking the hard R flick even though its action heroine is a young teen. I figured it had two proper homes: Lionsgate or Screen Gems. WME aggressively sold the $45 million film; they screened it for distribs at the DGA back in L.A. the Tuesday after Comic-Con.

The marketing will be key, as the movie falls into the tricky action-comedy genre. What matters is that it looks like a lot of fun.

Here's video from the Kick-Ass Comic-Con panel.

This article is related to: Video, Independents, Genres, Festivals, Comic-Con, Action, comedy, 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.