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Movie projector: 'Kick-Ass' set to take names with $30 million at box office

April 15, 2010 |  4:52 pm

KickAss Lionsgate looks as if it will kick butt at the box office this weekend.

The independent studio on Friday will release its satirical superhero film “Kick-Ass,” which it acquired after a successful screening at last year’s Comic-Con International, with healthy expectations. People who have seen pre-release audience surveys said it should sell roughly $30 million worth of tickets in the U.S. and Canada through Sunday.

“Kick-Ass,” which stars Nicolas Cage along with a mostly young cast, has long been generating interest among young males who have been excited since buzz started at the fanboy convention. Lionsgate recently focused more of its marketing on older males and young women, who may be attracted to the film’s tween girl hero Hit Girl.

The movie’s R rating, however, could take a whack out of its weekend gross by limiting the size of the under-17-year-old audience.

Unless “Kick-Ass” opens significantly below expectations, Lionsgate should end up in good financial shape on the movie, particularly if those who go see it on its first weekend like the movie and create positive buzz. The studio paid $15 million for domestic distribution rights to “Kick-Ass” and is spending between $25 million and $30 million on advertising and prints.

Barring a disaster, “Kick-Ass” will be this weekend’s No. 1 movie at the box office. Sony Pictures’ “Death at a Funeral” is on track to open at around $20 million, a decent figure given that the studios’ Screen Gems label spent $21 million on production.

The remake of a 2007 British film stars Chris Rock and Tracy Morgan and is tracking stronger with African- Americans, but is expected to draw a fairly diverse audience.

It could be in a tight race for second place with “How to Train Your Dragon,” which declined only 14% to $25.3 million last weekend and will likely have a similarly tiny drop on its upcoming fourth weekend in the market.

--Ben Fritz

Photo: Aaron Johnson and Chloe Grace Moretz in "Kick-Ass." Credit: Dan Smith / Lionsgate.