April 16, 2010 / 12:05 AM / 8 years ago

"Kick-Ass" looking for box office win

<p>Actors (L-R) Chloe Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Aaron Johnson pose for a portrait during a media day promoting the film "Kick-Ass" in New York April 8, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The proudly vulgar comic-book adaptation “Kick-Ass” is hoping for an eponymous opening weekend at the box office in North America.

The film is expected to earn in the $25 million-$30 million range, ending the two-week reign of “Clash of the Titans.”

Nicolas Cage and Chloe Moretz (“(500) Days of Summer”) star in the $50 million Lionsgate release as a foul-mouthed, costumed father-and-daughter duo. Aaron Johnson (“Nowhere Boy”) portrays the latex-suited title character.

Internet buzz for the R-rated action comedy -- stoked by an online-heavy marketing campaign -- has been building for months. Fanboys are the target audience, but positive word-of-mouth could broaden support notably. On the other hand, the film’s restricted rating poses a built-in barrier to many prospective teen patrons.

Lionsgate launches “Kick-Ass” on Thursday night, with nearly 1,500 locations programing 10 p.m. and midnight performances. The movie is set for 3,000-plus locations starting Friday, and the Thursday tally will be included with Friday box office.

“I‘m cautiously optimistic, and I‘m confident that it’s playability will be great,” Lionsgate executive vp distribution David Spitz said.

“Kick-Ass” totes a ho-hum international haul of $12.5 million from earlier bows in the U.K., Australia and New Zealand, where it was hurt by its positioning opposite the first two weeks of “Clash of the Titans.”

That Warner Bros. action fantasy should begin winding down a bit this weekend, with prospects of adding teen millions to a current total of $118 million.

Also on Friday, Sony’s Screen Gems label sends out the R-rated comedy “Death at a Funeral,” starring Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence. Urban demos should provide core support for the estimated $21 million remake of a 2007 British farce.

A bow in the high-teen millions looks doable, with the film vying for the silver medal with the fourth weekend of “How to Train Your Dragon.”

“We expect that it will play broadly,” Sony distribution president Rory Bruer said. “The African-American audience has bought into it, but we know from our research that it should also have broader appeal.”

“Date Night,” in its second weekend, likely will go toe-to-toe again with “Titans” in a battle for the weekend’s top nonmedal ranking.

Limited openers Friday include Sony Pictures Classics’ “The Secret in Their Eyes,” which won the foreign-language Oscar this year. The Argentine crime drama opens in 10 theaters in four markets. IFC Films’ “No One Knows About Persian Cats,” a Farsi-language comed-drama set in Iran’s underground music scene, is set for two New York theaters.

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