A bad week for comic-book movies?

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kick ass hit girl A bad week for comic book movies?
So how’s that April 17th working out for you, Mark Millar? You’ll recall that the excitable Scottish scribe was waiting for the day AFTER the KICK-ASS opening for his agents to take out his next project, NEMESIS, a move he may regret considering the tepid opening for KICK-ASS, which only managed a sub-$20 million opening AFTER Lionsgate toted up every penny  – thus avoiding being #2 to a four-week-old cartoon about getting your dragon to use a potty chair. Millar seems to have made peace with the opening however, probably because his agents didn’t listen to his advice and already sold the hell out of his next few books.

Although there’s no disputing that KICK-ASS will recoup on home DVD and got a very smart, savvy marketing push to the target audience, it’s still being looked at as a case study of internet buzz not equaling actual movie goer buzz. Some are using it as a platform for wider mythbusting:

* [myth] The mainstream is tired of the straight superhero story and wants something that subverts the form.

No matter how some try to categorize it, “Kick-Ass” isn’t really a movie about superheroes. The character has as many powers as a house rabbit. The person who saves everyone is an 11-year-old in a purple wig. The characters in the film are, for one of the first times in movie history, just as slyly knowing of the tropes and conventions of superhero films as those watching it. “Kick-Ass” isn’t so much a superhero movie as it is a post-superhero movie.

Writer Steve Marmel. loved the movie but  summed up the dilemma at HuffPo:

Men – and lets be honest, that’s the primary viewing audience for this flick (yes, there were women there as well, but they fall under the die-hard category) – were put in the position to either get a pass, or have to explain to their kids why they were off to see a movie about a costumed crime-fighter, but their kids could not. “Daddy, can I see Kick-ass?” Who needs that?

KICK-ASS’s mild box-office may have staved off a wider sense of outrage over its excesses: Ebert called it “morally reprehensible” and the New Yorker’s Anthony Lane called it “violence’s answer to kiddie porn.” But the controversy doesn’t seem to have fanned too many fires.

If nothing else, the lukewarm response to KICK-ASS following the lukewarm response to WATCHMEN has put the kibosh on the R-rated superhero movie for now. Meanwhile, some other comic book movies are also running into rough waters as IESB reports in a piece called Bad News For GREEN HORNET & LOBO. The LOBO movie — which would probably be R-rated or else why not call it ALF: THE MOVIE — and has fallen prey to the long-rumored Akiva Goldsman curse:

The real issue at hand is several of the top WB executives (the ones who matter) have lost faith in Akiva Goldman’s [sic] producorial skills. This is a direct result of their not-so-hot reaction to The Losers and especially Jonah Hex. The latter required massive reshoots (in excess of 50 pages worth of new material) and another director in studio go-to guy Francis Lawrence was brought to call the shots. So basically Lobo won’t be happening anytime soon.

green hornet for real A bad week for comic book movies?
Even more alarm bells have been raised over the GREEN HORNET movie, which stars Seth Rogen as a superhero and was directed by
eccentric French visionary Michel Gondry – yeah, no one could have predicted those two would make a goofy comedy and not a crisp actioner. The IESB story alludes to much studio angst over HORNET’s campy tone, and sure enough, yesterday GREEN HORNET was moved from its “We believe in you!” December 22 holiday opening spot to the cold, wintry exile of Martin Luther King Day, January 14th. The reason given was to add 3D effects — because with eight months before opening you DESPERATELY need those three extra weeks to run some scenes through a computer and avoid your lucrative opening date, right, Sony Pictures Vice-Chairman Jeff Blake?

“We’re investing more in the film to have it 3-D,” said Blake. “We’ve seen part of the movie. We love it. We believe in it. Whoever is spreading these rumors has not seen it. We’re going to finish ‘Green Hornet’ in 3-D and take 9 months to do it right.”

Translation: Ohmigod we saw some footage and I have been lying on my Sleep Number mattress, sleepless and afraid, ever since, wondering how we are going to sell this turkey.

Meanwhile, THE LOSERS, based on the Andy Diggle-Jock Vertigo comic of the same name, opens this weekend, its biggest competition Jennifer Lopez’s baby/romance comedy The Back-Up Plan– a look at the poster hints at which body part Lopez might be “backing up” to enact this plan.

Will men prevail and get to pick the mildly entertaining LOSERS, maintaining the general tendency of comic book movies to open at #1? Or will women go for J-Lo’s over-effective ovaries? Tune in Sunday for the answer.

Comments

  1. Gotta disagree with Marmel on at least this point: “yes, there were women there as well, but they fall under the die-hard category.”

    My wife is exactly the opposite of a die-hard — not a superhero fan at all, though she likes action movies, the more over-the-top, the better.

    Me, a die-hard comics fan and familiar with Millar’s work? I had *some* interest, but was also kinda wary. But when it came time to pick a movie, she suggested Kick-Ass and I went along. (A weird turnabout… she’d never suggest going to see a Batman movie, for example.) And, as it shook out, she liked the movie more than I did.

    She’s just one woman, and she’s not necessarily representative. But the movie *does* have appeal to women who aren’t “die-hards.”

  2. Kick-Ass doesn’t need to wait ’til DVD to recoup: according to Box Office Mojo, the movie only cost $30 million to make and is up to $41.6 million worldwide through Wednesday. I don’t know what its advertising budget was (probably a fair bit, considering how omnipresent the ads were, especially on Adult Swim) but it looks to me like the film will eke out a small profit.

    It is kind of disappointing, though. I mean, I don’t have a lot of room to speak because i haven’t gone to see it yet, but I like the idea of there being a market for R-rated superhero movies. I liked Watchmen. I like what I’ve seen of Kick-Ass. I would hate to think that movies like this can’t be made anymore.

    I’m really interested to see how The Losers do. I think it will be hampered by advertising doesn’t give you even a sliver of an idea of what the plot is, and though I’ve read a few good reviews (Roger Ebert, Michael Phillips), it’s overall getting far worse ones than Kick-Ass did (47% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes vs. 77% for Kick-Ass).

  3. If nothing else, the luke-warm response to KICK-ASS following the luke-warm response to WATCHEMN has put the kibosh on the R-rated superhero movie for now.

    If this is the case then Mark Millar and co. deserve a medal for poisoning the well. If it takes Hollywood another 20 years to decide that the risk is worth it then they will have done a public service. The all ages superhero movies are FINALLY getting good – let that genre grow for a while. Eventually there will be a market for “cynical commentary on standard escapist fantasy tropes of the superhero genre in movie form”, but the market doesn’t appear to be there quite yet.

    And when Hollywood does come around again looking for a model for R-rated superhero movies sit them down and have them watch “The Matrix” again. That was essentially an R-rated superhero movie and it worked just fine. Mostly because the Watchowski brothers weren’t really interested in using the R-rating just to comment on the genre.

  4. Dave Elliott says:

    While I wasn’t a huge fan of the WATCHMEN movie, I wouldn’t have said the reception was ‘luke-warm’. It didn’t take as much as people expected, but for a three hour movie it actually did exceptionally well.

    KICK-ASS was kick ass. I loved it (don’t know if it helped I had only read three issues of the comic) as did everyone else at the showing I was at. The next two weeks will tell us if it has the legs and word of mouth to carry it along.

  5. Hmmmmm… I wonder if Kick Ass and Watchmen were possibly the two worst properties to kick of the “R Rated Superhero Movie” trend.

    The Watchmen movie was never going to make anybody happy. If you were a fan of the comic, the changes were going to piss you off. If you weren’t a fan of the comic, I wonder if the story and dark tone would have a lot of appeal.

    And Kick Ass. Is there a more polarizing comic? (full disclosure: I hated it.) While there’s plenty of room for love it/hate it films and comics, you can’t expect a title like that to rake in the cash.

  6. Part of the “camp fear” over Green Hornet might be related to Frank Miller’s The Spirit. As a pop-culturist, I haven’t seen great interest in GH, aside from Bruce Lee’s involvement. No DVD collection? Any television syndication? With limited nostalgic interest, this might turn into another “Shadow”.

    The 3-D conversion might be a ploy by Sony to inflate the box office. Have there been many 3-D martial arts movies? What else will open that weekend? There is the risk that a big 3-D movie from the Christmas season might prevent Sony from capitalizing on the 3-D.

    The Losers cost $25M to film. Paltry. Even if it doesn’t make that much domestically (unlikely), it will internationally and on secondary markets like DVD and PPV.

    This is why “Death: The High Cost of Living” is in pre-production.

    Kick-Ass did well earlier this week. It will possibly not suffer much loss this weekend.

    Geez… remember when ONE comicbook movie a year was cause for celebration? There are at least SIX this year…

  7. “$30 million to make and is up to $41.6 million worldwide”

    Surely Lionsgate (or whoever is distributing it here in the states) wants as much money as they can get (and they were hoping for a few million more) but as they don’t own it, they probably don’t get any of the international money.

  8. Brett says:

    My guess is that Kick Ass simply didn’t appeal to the masses. The name itself sounds kind of like a parody and the trailers made the movie appear like a bunch of kids dressing up in silly costumes while acting like assholes.

  9. Rodney Wall says:

    I haven’t read Kick-Ass, but I saw the movie and loved it. So did my female friend who doesn’t care much for Superhero comics (though she likes alt-comics and manga).
    The audience I saw it with loved it, and I heard nothing but positive comments as I left.
    I may even go see it again, so I wouldn’t count it out yet. It’s too bad that a movie isn’t considered successful these days unless it breaks a box office record.

  10. Synsidar says:

    Part of the problem with the market for comic-book movies might be that the people who review and write about them for publication are familiar with various genres and formats. They compare movies to books, movies to TV shows, books to comics, etc. They’re familiar with storytelling tropes.

    Given all that, they don’t find movies about the classic superheroes interesting. Even if a movie is well-made, they’ll still find the story boring, although casual viewers will find the movie entertaining.

    If a movie has a twist on familiar material, some commentators will overreact to that. Since comic books aren’t movies, if some aspects of a movie are exceptional, those will be compared to similar movies. The violence in KICK-ASS, the movie, is exceptional, so many reviewers are reacting to that. The button-pushing that Millar engaged in in the comic isn’t that significant in the movie.

    I don’t see a future for R-rated superhero movies, especially not ones featuring existing DC and Marvel characters. The connection between the heroes and children is too strong. A push to make superhero movies ultra-violent wouldn’t last long.

    SRS

  11. Christian says:

    For me personally I would have gone to see Kick Ass but Mark Millar is truly ground-breaking when it comes to completely selling-out and being obnoxious.

    I wouldn’t give that guy a dime for fear it might cause his already over-inflated ego to explode.

    Losers on the other hand features hot-as-hell Zoe Saldana and it kinda capitalizes on the A-Team hype without the shame of “OMG-Ican’tbelieveI’mpayingtoseeanATeamRemake” guilt that accompanies the actual A-Team movie.

  12. Alan Coil says:

    The problem with Kick-Ass is that parents won’t be able to buy it to let their kids watch it. Some R-rated movies can be viewed by some teens, but nobody should let their 12-year-old kids see this. It’s vulgar and profane, and somebody ought to arrest the parents of the girl that played Hit-Girl. No child, actress or not, should be speaking those words in a movie.

  13. The Kick-Ass comic book was a decent, albeit twisted commentary on super-heroes.

    My interest in seeing the movie is slight. I’ll probably wait until I can get it via NetFlix.

    But I’m 100% certain of is this…

    I really don’t give a rat’s ass about Mark Millar’s movie career. I mean, more power to any comics creators who can make a few bucks or a lotta bucks from films based on their self-owned creations.

    But, on my scale of what’s important to me, Millar’s plans and the constant publicity that surrounds them rank just slightly above pictures of Jesus on toast.

    I’m a bitter, grumpy old fart, I guess. I just can’t get hip to Hollywood, the glory hole of creativity.

  14. Rich Johnson says:

    Kick Ass also won the box office for the week – ending yesterday – beating the Dragon movie by almost a million. I don’t think it’s over for the movie yet. The J Lo movie is a date movie and dragon is a kids movie. How would you describe the audience for Kick Ass? The second weekend will tell if it has any word of mouth and if anyone is going back to see it a second time.

  15. mark coale says:

    I counted at least 1 comic book movie a month in the ew summer movie preview issue.

  16. “It’s vulgar and profane, and somebody ought to arrest the parents of the girl that played Hit-Girl. No child, actress or not, should be speaking those words in a movie”.

    You don’t seem to have a problem with this character chopping people’s limbs off with a sword or shooting them in the head, but her use of *bad language* is morally unacceptable?

  17. kick-ass will continue to make money this weekend and the one after…because it is a solid , fun, out of control film that took risks.

    AMANDA and i loved it and had a blast and will probably go see it again next week.

    It will make all its budget, publicity and whatnot money back in a few weeks, then there is the dvd, additional box office and a million different lisenses and so on. Want to be negative…go head, but I refuse to be sucked into the “it didnt make enough money , so it failed” crowd.

    And I saw the Losers today and enjoyed it as well. nothing deep, but fun all around. here is hoping it has a good weekend.

    I am happy it got made…and will continue to support comics to film.

  18. Brian Spence says:

    Marketing for this movie SUCKED ASS, making it looked like a low budget super hero flick (with a lame little girl) which happened to be rated R. I haven’t seen it yet. I’m too busy lately with school, but I think I’ll see it along with the others who are giving it good word of mouth. Problem is that the weather is finally gettig good and most people don’t want to spend the weekend inside, geeks excluded. It wasn’t the best comic I’ve read, but it was fun. We’ll see.

  19. Can I mention that in Belgium Kick Ass is all ages rated?
    But to be fair: all movies are rated all ages these days and the ratings committee actually leaves it up to the theatres to second rate it.
    It will flop here. I’ll give it one week rotation because it’s about tropes that aren’t as well known here.
    I guess that’s why it’s lukewarm in the States? For all the superhero successes, I think KA is a commentary on superhero tropes and only a certain amount of people have the same amount of knowledge on those tropes

  20. Alan Coil says:

    “…chopping people’s limbs off with a sword or shooting them in the head…”

    is all special effects.

    The words were not. No kid should be talking like that.

  21. Wraith says:

    If nothing else, the luke-warm response to KICK-ASS following the luke-warm response to WATCHEMN has put the kibosh on the R-rated superhero movie for now.

    If this is the case then Mark Millar and co. deserve a medal for poisoning the well. If it takes Hollywood another 20 years to decide that the risk is worth it then they will have done a public service. The all ages superhero movies are FINALLY getting good – let that genre grow for a while. Eventually there will be a market for “cynical commentary on standard escapist fantasy tropes of the superhero genre in movie form”, but the market doesn’t appear to be there quite yet.

    And when Hollywood does come around again looking for a model for R-rated superhero movies sit them down and have them watch “The Matrix” again. That was essentially an R-rated superhero movie and it worked just fine. Mostly because the Watchowski brothers weren’t really interested in using the R-rating just to comment on the genre.

    _________________________

    I agree with pretty much everything you said, EXCEPT for the last part of your post. IMO, the R rated superhero movie that Hollywood should watch again, are the first 2 BLADE movies (the 3rd movie was garbage and should be ignored). The first BLADE movie also came out a year before the first MATRIX movie and was solely responsible for getting Hollywood interested comic book superhero movies again. I also think that the first ROBOCOP movie was also another R rated “superhero” movie that Hollywood could learn a thing or twp from watching again.

  22. Army of Dorkness says:

    Alan Coil says:
    04/23/2010 at 5:18 pm
    “The problem with Kick-Ass is that parents won’t be able to buy it to let their kids watch it. Some R-rated movies can be viewed by some teens, but nobody should let their 12-year-old kids see this. It’s vulgar and profane, and somebody ought to arrest the parents of the girl that played Hit-Girl. No child, actress or not, should be speaking those words in a movie.”

    This is either funny or sad. For one thing, this isn’t the first film with a foul-mouthed kid. For another, the whole reason it’s funny is because it’s a foul-mouthed kid saying those things. They’re just words on a page. Some of the most screwed up child actors came from cookie-cutter aw-shucks wholesome television shows, and that didn’t stop them from doing drugs, selling drugs, committing violent acts, etc. There’s no reason to think that anyone saying any words is going to cause some kind of internal corruption that a parent should be arrested for. That’s a ridiculous position to take, and people that like to throw crap like “should be arrested” or “should be severely beaten” around over petty shit like this should be monitored, warned and banned more than people who are free with the insults and profanity because what they say is more dangerous than a supposed “bad word”.

    I am also tired of this “sky is falling” crap without any context whatsoever. Know what other film hasn’t made back it’s budget after 3 full weeks of release? How to Train Your Dragon. Kick Ass has been out for 1 week and is practically as far away from grossing enough to cover its budget as Dragon is. Death at a Funeral and Date Night are also short of grossing equal to their budgets. Yes, Kick Ass did not meet the extremely inflated expectations of many people. I’m not one of them. I expected $15-18million. 19.8 looked like a win to me. Maybe half of the major studio releases remain in line with expected grosses–some exceed, some fall short, but I’d say about half are accurate. Kick Ass was released by Lions Gate whose highest grossing film was Fahrenheit 9/11 with $120million and whose other top 10 earners mostly showcase the horrors of either torture porn or Tyler Perry in drag. If the good word of mouth holds, Kick Ass will end up in that top 10 and I seriously doubt Lions Gate expected anything more or less. So enough with the doom-saying, alright? It’s a quirky film with limited appeal and limited access to one of its target demographics. This is about as good as can be expected from such a release. Relax, already.

    Alan Coil says:
    04/23/2010 at 7:00 pm
    ““…chopping people’s limbs off with a sword or shooting them in the head…”

    is all special effects.

    The words were not. No kid should be talking like that.”

    Acting IS a special effect. Hit Girl is a profanity-spewing killer. That actor is just an actor. You can’t say pretending to decapitate a guy is less real than pretending to mean the terrible things you’re calling him as you’re cutting his head off. It’s all make-believe, dude. Even Chloe Moretz understands that.

  23. I think it has more to do with the economy. When times are dark for people, they don’t want to see a dark movie. They want something bright, happy, family friendly and uplifting. Watchmen wasn’t that, and Kick Ass wasn’t marketed that way either (I haven’t seen it yet).

    I think for a while Fantastic Four style movies will do better in the box office.

  24. mark coale says:

    I would think that the dark knight movie would likely make just about the same bo, good economy or bad.

  25. I think the R-rated comic book film genre works best when audiences don’t consider it a comic book film (or are completely ignorant of the original source material). For instance, 300 made money like gangbusters, and in March no less. Put an R rated flick in tights and you have one confused middle America.

    Also, any film that squeaks by in first place against weeks old competition should be considered lukewarm. This will be at second run theaters in about two weeks when Iron Man 2 comes out.

  26. Joe Lawler says:

    “is all special effects.

    The words were not. No kid should be talking like that.”

    But then what about something like “Tin Drum”? Or any film where a child does something disturbing? Are kids now cut off from doing/having bad things done to them?

  27. jimmy b. says:

    “Will men prevail and pick the mildly entertaining LOSERS? Or will women go for J-Lo’s ovaries?”

    the people i work with were mostly planning to finally see Date Night.

  28. I’m incredibly bummed that Kick-Ass is getting mixed reviews. Who cares if Mark Millar is having a passionate love affair with himself? If I’d written Kick-Ass, I’d be rubbing myself down with gravy in front of a mirror–let an artist have his day. Not all of us will make anything that goes anywhere, and I can’t blame the guy for getting amped that people dig his craft. Hell, I’m amped he made it in the first place. I thought both the comic and the movie were fantastic.

  29. briguyx says:

    I didn’t like the way “Kick-Ass” was marketed either. It should have played on the fact that it’s about a guy in our world that has no superpowers who decides to be a superhero. This is the way the comic was promoted with the fake You Tube video.

    Martin Luther King weekend is a pretty big one for movies and Sony’s logic is that more 3-D screens will be available then for the film, whereas during Christmas there are too many 3-D films for the screens. But for Seth Rogen to say they need to make the action 3-D due to Gondry’s vision is scary, as “The Green Hornet” should be realistic, not Matrix-like. And of course, in spite of the long history of “The Green Hornet,” most kids today will not have heard of the character, making for another tough promotional road…

  30. I think the first major alarm should have went off for GREEN HORNET when its chubby star, Seth Rogen, unveiled the new Black Beauty at Comicon.

  31. Jason Church says:

    Great. Its not enough for Johnson to defend Millar on his own blog, now he has to do it here too. Must be a full time job for you, checking all the forums for people criticizing Mark.

  32. K-Box says:

    And the Friday estimates are in:

    “Kick-Ass” placed FIFTH, behind (in order) “The Back-Up Plan,” “How to Train Your Dragon,” “The Losers” and even “Date Night.”

    It’s losing out to two films that are considered disappointing debuts, and two other films that have run in theaters longer than it has.

    It’s on track to earn a total of $8.3 million for the entire weekend, down 63 percent from its opening weekend.

    Word-of-mouth buzz is doing NOTHING to boost the box office for this film. NOBODY cares about it.

  33. I have learned to watch the movie, not the box-office. How many people commenting on it have actually seen it?

  34. Kenny Cather says:

    *smh*

    ” Put an R rated flick in tights and you have one confused middle America.”

    ALL of America was confused by that one, not just the heartland. It’s not like we’re all sitting in cornfields eating paste out here.

  35. Henrik Andreasen says:

    Kick-Ass the comic was amazing and the movie was just as good. Have yet to talk to anybody who saw it and haven’t like it. Back here in Denmark it is ages 15 and up, so more younger people are able to see it. Also most reviewers give the movie 5 out of 6 stars.

    More power to Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.!

  36. My wife and another comic artist’s wife saw it last weekend. Neither is enamored of superhero books. They both liked it, suggested we go see it for my first time. Small mall theater in our mostly Latino neighborhood. Maybe 6 other people in the theater (Internet buzz means nothing in Berwyn, IL). Everyone loved it, and it was obviously not a superhero crowd. I thought it was sly and entertaining.

    The ticket seller says folks asked him, “Kick Ass? What’s that?” all the time. The pre-opening marketing on this movie didn’t penetrate very far, but once men and women see it they love it. I think this movie will hold up unusually well with time.

  37. Berwyn?

    I had three hours to fill between the end of work and a zoning hearing on Monday. I was one of 6 people who saw a 5pm showing. I thought it was funny. I laughed more than I did at The Hangover. I never read the book unlike Watchmen which was a film I did not enjoy.

  38. Alan Coil says:

    Army of Dorkness said: “For another, the whole reason it’s funny is because it’s a foul-mouthed kid saying those things. They’re just words on a page.”

    Dorkness, a movie is NOT words on a page.

  39. Alan Coil says:

    Jason Church —

    You mentioned Rich Johnson. I just wanted to make sure you understand there are 2 of them, one of whom spells his name with a ‘t’…Johnston…who writes Bleeding Cool.

  40. Synsidar says:

    The problem at least some people have with Hit Girl and the “c” word isn’t the use of the word itself. It’s the context:

    In trying to parse out the controversy over Hit Girl’s cussing, I couldn’t help but think of another recent film: Role Models. In that comedy (which, like Kick-Ass, falls into that gray is-it-for-kids-or-for-adults territory), an equally young character, Ronnie, swears a hundred times more, and bluer, than Hit Girl does. But I don’t remember anyone clucking about that performance. Could it be in part because Ronnie—played by Bobb’e J. Thompson—is a young black boy, not a pristine little white girl? (Note, too, that Hit Girl delivers the now infamous line “All right, you cunts, let’s see what you can do now” to a room full of menacing black drug dealers in the projects—an upsettingly stereotypical scene, in my book, particularly because the dealers are being targeted because one of them has been paying too much attention to another pretty white girl.)

    People who routinely use expletives seem ill-bred or foolish. If there’s no shock effect, the expletives are just verbal noise.

    People have also reacted to the obvious attempts at manipulation. If someone knows beforehand that a movie is supposed to push the viewer’s buttons, there’s really not much point in seeing it. If a comedian specializes in dirty jokes, and one doesn’t find dirty jokes funny, he’d find the comedian boring. If a three-year old is taught to say expletives, that would be funny for — five minutes?

    There are differences between a film that tests limits while making a statement and one that tests limits just to test limits.

    SRS

  41. Well Hitgirl made the best promo for the Benchmade 42 Balisong, a production blade that Benchmade stopped producing awhile back, even though it was the choice for balisong “flippers”.

  42. Bill Scurry says:

    I think that with a few exceptions, R-rated movies can’t by their very nature make a ton of cash. You’re limiting access to the most crucial movie-going demographic — 11-17 year olds. Now, that may not be the case here, and it’s possible that people just didn’t like it, but I suspect the age restriction was always going to cut into the box office grosses.

  43. Is that how we’re judging movies now, by the amount of money they earn the first weekend? That seems somewhat silly. With that said, Kick-Ass still earned around $20 million it’s first weekend. That’s right around what Kill Bill made it’s opening weekend. Funny, I don’t remember anyone speaking about what a failure Kill Bill was.

    Maybe more people would think of Kick-Ass as less of a failure if Hit-Girl wore a yellow track suit.

  44. Synsidar says:

    Is that how we’re judging movies now, by the amount of money they earn the first weekend? That seems somewhat silly.

    The first two weekends are important, and Lionsgate recognized that:

    And Hollywood expects a steep drop for Kick-Ass after Lionsgate unethically inflated its opening numbers by including Thursday midnight’s take in order to grab the No. 1 title last weekend. No self-respecting studio does that anymore. But Lionsgate is feeling the heat from Carl Icahn and needed the PR boost.

  45. Army of Dorkness says:

    “It’s on track to earn a total of $8.3 million for the entire weekend, down 63 percent from its opening weekend.

    Word-of-mouth buzz is doing NOTHING to boost the box office for this film. NOBODY cares about it.”

    Damn. I was sure Kick Ass’ second weekend wouldn’t be down so much. Although, it’s only $2million behind the #1 film, so it’s a bad weekend overall. Sounds like everybody is going to wait for DVD. Can’t blame them, it’ll probably be out before the end of the summer.

    “Dorkness, a movie is NOT words on a page.”

    I never said it was, Alan. That IS how they all begin, though. You’ve unsurprisingly missed the point completely. Or just ignored it.

    Synsider, that’s the specific example I had in my head when I was commenting on foul-mouthed kids. There are others, as well, but the kid in Role Models is up there as the top example. It’s nothing new, and there’s really no difference between Hit Girl and Ronnie using “those words”. It’s who the characters are.

    “Is that how we’re judging movies now, by the amount of money they earn the first weekend?”

    Where have you been for the last 20 years?

    Looks like Kick Ass is going to come up short after all. Another thing to consider is the heightend security for opening weekend. Movie theaters can’t afford to keep that up every week, so it’s easier to sneak into an R-rated film in week 2 or later than opening weekend. And security will be back next week, but they will be very focuses on a completely different movie–Nightmare on Elm Street remake–which would make it even easier to sneak into Kick Ass. Oh well…. just seemed to me that a film with 70+% on Rotten Tomatoes shouldn’t have suffered a 60+% drop in week 2.

    They really picked a terrible release date.

  46. Army of Dorkness says:

    “And Hollywood expects a steep drop for Kick-Ass after Lionsgate unethically inflated its opening numbers by including Thursday midnight’s take in order to grab the No. 1 title last weekend. No self-respecting studio does that anymore. ”

    What?!?!? Yes they do! It IS part of the opening weekend numbers, after all. The whole point of midnight shows is that it’s the first show of opening day since Friday starts at midnight. Why the hell wouldn’t they include it? That may not be how it’s widely reported anymore, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t count.

  47. Rick Rottman: “Is that how we’re judging movies now, by the amount of money they earn the first weekend? That seems somewhat silly.”

    The formula may have altered slightly, but it used to be that the first two weekends combined would be roughly 40% of the eventual US gross. So the first weekend is a good indicator of where a movie will end up.

  48. Kenny Cather says:

    “What?!?!? Yes they do! It IS part of the opening weekend numbers, after all. The whole point of midnight shows is that it’s the first show of opening day since Friday starts at midnight.”

    The problem is they added the Tursday night 10 PM figures in as well.

  49. Army of Dorkness says:

    “The problem is they added the Tursday night 10 PM figures in as well.”

    That’s not the problem. It’s all the same. It is only about marketing aka bragging rights. I guess I shouldn’t have acted so surprised that someone is bothered by a rival studio’s marketing tactics.

    This type of crap is why I don’t watch shows like Entertainment Tonight anymore. Hype, spin, anti-spin, gotcha, and faux-empathy. bleh.

  50. Alan Coil says:

    ““Dorkness, a movie is NOT words on a page.”

    I never said it was, Alan. That IS how they all begin, though. You’ve unsurprisingly missed the point completely. Or just ignored it.”
    ____

    Perhaps you didn’t quite make your point. Nowhere in your original post did you say it started out as words on a page. But of course I knew that.

    Words on a page are much less inflammatory as having a real 12-year-old speak them.

  51. Alan Coil has apparently never seen a movie with a potty-mouthed child actor. Shame on him for his comments about “jailing” the parents.

    I don’t even like KICK-ASS, the comic, but this is just nonsense talking.

  52. Army of Dorkness says:

    “Perhaps you didn’t quite make your point.”

    Giving you the benefit of the doubt, I re-read my original post. It made my points clearly, and knowing that to be the case, I conclude that this–“For another, the whole reason it’s funny is because it’s a foul-mouthed kid saying those things. They’re just words on a page.”–is the only part of my original post you bothered to read or pay any attention to. If it was the entirety of my post, then you might have a point with your response of it “not just being words on a page”, but I do go on at some length afterward detailing my points and how getting up in arms about a foul-mouthed little white girl is silly and borderline hypocritical. If it helps, mentally delete “on a page” from my original post making it “they’re just words”, and I would do it myself if this site allowed the edit feature to which I’m still averse.

    “Words on a page are much less inflammatory as having a real 12-year-old speak them.”

    You say that as if she was forced into it.

    I’d also like to amend my original post again… your comments are no longer funny or sad, Alan; they’re just sad, and I now understand that it’s futile to discuss this topic with you any longer.

  53. Brett says:

    People follow the box office not because they want gloat in a movie’s failure but because if there is a succession of box office disappointments, fans fear it may put a halt on possible flicks.

    Personally, I think it was naive to believe Kiss Ass would do well. And those who think it would have, well, that just goes to show how out of touch modern comics folk are with what’s appealing to the general masses.

    The market place for modern comics has been in serious decline for a long time. Although the industry is making more money now than ever, it’s because of the shrewd acumen of those in charge. They may be putting out crap but they have uncovered new and inventive albeit destructive means to make money in a declining market by manipulating price and production to compensate for the loss in readership. It’s a practice that’s become all too commonplace in the new millenium of frauds and cheats but I digress.

    The reason for the decline is because modern comics have become a caricature of themselves. All the over the top violence, unending deaths and just silly, nonsensical stories is turning current readers away. And if you’re current readers are turned off, what makes you think that crap’s going to be appealing to the general masses, those you have to get to buy into your product?

    Kick Ass is representative of all that’s just wrong, unappealing in modern comics.

    Those into the mindset of modern comics may find it cool but wake up call, what’s cool to you may not be cool or appealing outside of the niche. Everyone saw the “In Your Face” advertising which Lionsgate probably cued from In Your Face Millar himself (even WITH the phoney Kick Ass billboard in NY Times Square!… but people outside of comics just didn’t care because it looked silly, even in its name: Kick Ass!

    In a poll done by Box Office Mojo, 41% of the people said they had no interest in seeing Kick Ass in theatres.

    https://secure.boxofficemojo.com/polls/?page=viewpoll&id=1438&p=.htm

    People want to read comics and see comic movies with output that celebrate the medium, not crap that exagerates and stretches it to the point of idoicy where, all they’re doing is making fun of it.

    I wouldn’t worry though. Kick Ass and The Losers will be small footnotes after Iron Man and Green Lantern, two films that will definately Kick Ass in theatres… and you don’t need to be a genius to figure out why they will be successful when Kick Ass and Losers weren’t.

  54. Alan Coil says:

    ““Words on a page are much less inflammatory as having a real 12-year-old speak them.”

    You say that as if she was forced into it. ”
    _____

    Legally, a child has no right to choose to say those words, whether in real liufe or on film. Her parents allowed her to say them, thus they are responsible.

    No good parent would allow their kid to say such words.

  55. Anonymous says:

    >> Legally, a child has no right to choose to say those words, whether in real liufe or on film.>>

    You think profanity is illegal for minors?

    Man, they must have repealed the First Amendment when I wasn’t looking. When do the Profanity Police go clean up the schools?

    kdb

  56. BTW, I voted No Interest seeing it in theatres because I have no interest in seeing it. A friend of mine lent me the comic, didn’t like it. I saw the ads, no interest in seeing it.

  57. Dave Elliott says:

    I really don’t know what to make of this thread. There seems to be several people who are looking for KICK-ASS to fail. It is a good film, though it is obviously not to everyone’s taste.

    I remember how the first AUSTIN POWERS movie performed and how the second took on its opening weekend more than the first took on its whole run, so I wouldn’t rule a sequel out.

    KICK-ASS won’t be losing anyone any money and will do well through its run, DVD’s, cable, downloads etc…

  58. Brendan T says:

    I really don’t know what people were expecting here. It’s an R rated film based on an obscure franchise which got a somewhat limited release. And it still just fell behind a movie with a broader potential audience and more theaters behind it.

    Considering how low the budget was, it’s pretty much made that back. Another few weeks, even at a low level will hit point of profit, and then there’s DVD sales. And since Lion’s Gate is a subsidiary of Disney, the extra copies of the book sold also track back to the parent company.

    But seriously, if you look at it in terms of take vs. budget, then Kick Ass did relatively better than Avatar in its first week. All things aren’t equal here and for what it is and what it cost, it’s doing fine.

  59. I went to see Kick-Ass on Thursday and even though I really disliked the book, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Perhaps it just has a better cost:entertainment ratio? Whatever I thought it was funny and exciting.

    But the interesting thing was that I went with a group of friends, of whom I was the only comic book fan. And while we all liked it, the women in the group LOVED it. I was actually surprised, they were all so enthusiastic.

    I’m amazed that good word of mouth hasn’t helped this movie. Most people who actually see it seem to like it. It’s the whole “getting people to actually see it” thing that’s hurting the most, I think.

  60. Wraith says:

    People have also reacted to the obvious attempts at manipulation. If someone knows beforehand that a movie is supposed to push the viewer’s buttons, there’s really not much point in seeing it. If a comedian specializes in dirty jokes, and one doesn’t find dirty jokes funny, he’d find the comedian boring. If a three-year old is taught to say expletives, that would be funny for — five minutes?

    There are differences between a film that tests limits while making a statement and one that tests limits just to test limits.

    SRS

    ____________________________

    I agree with everything you said. It was quite obvious that both the KICK-ASS movie and comic were trying way to hard to be both controversial and shocking based on the title alone. Like I have said in the past, both on this forum and on the Bleeding Cool forums (my user name is Blade X on that forum), this movie might have performed a lot better if it was called the less offensive “KICK-BUTT” instead of the more offensive and juvenile “KICK-ASS”. With a less offensive title, the movie could have been advertised in more markets.

  61. mark coale says:

    “Maybe more people would think of Kick-Ass as less of a failure if Hit-Girl wore a yellow track suit.”

    or japanese school girl outfit, but thats opening a whole differernt can of worms.

  62. Army of Dorkness says:

    Alan Coil is wrong again. He is a silly person. I feel bad for his theoretical children.

  63. Brett says:

    Jimmy Palmiotti —

    With all due respect, are you suggesting that people can only talk about a movie if they paid to see it? Because if people were disqualified about discussing a movie because they didn’t see it, then market research wouldn’t be a billion dollar industry.

    Movie trailers provide audiences a sample of that product and comics based on comic movies also give people an idea of what the movie is about.

    Perhaps people who sampled the comic and saw the In Your Face advertising either was turned off or simply not interested.

    So if the discussion is why a movie or product didn’t do well, why be so dismissive of those who are posting about why they had no interest in seeing it?

    Because if a person’s opinion is only going to count if they actually saw the movie and then said it was crap, you would still be dismissive of their opinions because the money made from all the people who had to pay to see it for their opinion to count would create an illusion that the movie was successful anyway because it still made money.

    Kind of like the guys in comics do. Perhaps if those working in the industry weren’t so dismissive of the opinions of their audience, they’d realize that what’s ‘cool’ to them might not be ‘cool’ to the masses outside of the niche.

    Hearing what people have to say, whether they paid to see the movie or not provides you with a greater understanding of why people did or did not buy into whatever you are selling. But to do that, you have to first be open to listening to your prospective consumer.

  64. Wraith says:

    I agree with every single thing Brett said.

  65. I LOVED it!!! I will most DEFINITELY pony up the coins when the DVD comes out. Millar and Romita Jr. SHOULD be proud.

  66. I’m more worried about the GH pushback, and fear the analysis is spot on.
    I think the fear is seeping over to other properties, such as Uslan’s The Shadow too..

  67. This past weekend was a bad weekend for movies in general. The top film made only $15 Million, and that was a movie which had been in theaters a month.

    It seems that April has joined January as the new dumping ground for lackluster movies. Movies with not enough buzz worthy of a Summer schedule, but necessary to fill theaters and DVD shelves.

    Yes, I have not seen a new movie since Avatar. I have not analyzed box office, Rotten Tomatoes, and other data. This is just an empirical hypothesis.

    Two weeks to Iron Man 2. And Tron: Legacy, Toy Story 3, Scott Pilgrim, Jonah Hex…

  68. thequestion says:

    iron man2 should restore the luster

  69. Alan Coil says:

    Dorkness, just because you disagree with my opinion doesn’t make me wrong. Do you suggest that all kids be taught to use foul words? What next, drinking? Should we give 12-year-olds beer and wine?

    When a child becomes an adult, they can do whatever they want, but there are limitations that should be in place before that.

  70. @Alan Coil: You said that Chloe Moretz’s parents should be placed under arrest because they allowed their daughter to say words you personally find offensive. That’s more than just an opinion.

  71. I said it all the way back to the first Spiderman coming out. Hollywood taking up it’s “holy”wood name and deciding they know better than the crowd holding fist fulls of dollars will fail every time. Top that off with the increased ticket price too. Yeah they’re asking for it.

    Kick Ass is a nitch crowd and there should not be any shock that it didn’t do as well. A Seth Rogan Green Hornet is not going to be anything record breaking either and people should know it.

    So now this ends up leading into Iron Man 2 which will be huge in numbers. Sites all around will cry out “we’re back!” It’ll be all high fives and stupid again until the next nitch comic doesn’t do well, or Green Hornet comes out and crashes.

    But of course “holy”wood will claim the success is due to the start of Iron Man. While yes that may hold some truth since the trendy society has to have “stars”, it’s also Iron Man versus Kick Ass. Most everyone will know who Iron Man is but Kick Ass I’m sure wasn’t known by many.

    Still if budget was made back plus some profits, it shouldn’t be anything to cry over. Not every movie is going to do billions of dollars in 1 day. I mean if that were true we all would be trying to get into the movie industry. If the people involved with the movies that do not do quite as well as the internet crowd expects are fine with the profits they made, it shouldn’t turn other away from putting out new movies. How much of this is mostly the internet crowd just finding something new to talk about?

  72. Joe… not to start another “discussion” here, because I agree with you. “Nobody knows anything.”

    But…

    The first Iron Man was a niche property as well. Sure, there were a few cartoons, but ask the man on the street back then about his origin, and most wouldn’t know what you were talking about. He wasn’t Superman or Spider-Man.

    The difference? Iron Man One managed to market the film properly, present a coherent story, and hit everything perfectly. Blade, which was even MORE niche, and Rated R, cost $45 Million, earned $70 Million in the USA, and had two sequels. One could argue that Blade was more vampire than comicbook superhero, and thus easier to sell, but some have faulted Kick-Ass’ lack of clear trailer plotting.

    Then there is the grand-daddy of all comicbook niche movies: Men In Black.

    My opinion in all this: I’m happy there’s a movie based on a graphic novel I can sell like hotcakes. Movies are commercials for the books they are based on, regardless of the quality of the movie. When the reader returns asking for more recommendations, then I can seduce them with a plethora of titles. (After Kick-Ass? The Authority. Maybe Preacher or Planetary. Or by the same writer? Wanted or Superman: Red Son)

  73. Matt D says:

    ” “Daddy, can I see Kick-ass?” Who needs that?”

    That’s why we didn’t see Transformers 2. It wasn’t going to be good enough to be worth the grief of the 8 year old not being able to see it, Michael Bay spectacle explosions or no. I’m on the fence about Iron Man 2. We’ll see it on our own first. He still hasn’t seen the first one yet but he would have been bored through 3/4th of it anyway.

  74. Still haven’t seen KICK ASS, so can’t comment on its cinematic ‘value’— but it’s fun to read others opinion of it, whether they’ve seen it or not… Never did place too much value in the whole “more Box Office
    = better the Movie is” reductionism, but can’t help play along anyways.

    I think the B.O. performance of the upcoming SCOTT PILGRIM film will be more indicative of the viability of ‘Comic Book Film’ with the general viewing audience: like KA, it comes with a cult-Comics pedigree and buzz, so seeing how many tickets it’ll sell is a better compare/contrast point with that film. Of course, the PG-13 rating for SP should get more of the lucrative High School audience than KA… theoritically. So should the movie ‘underperform’ like KA or THE LOSERS, be prepared for those “Death of the Comic Book Movie” AGAIN.

    (I know IRON MAN 2’s coming out next week— but EVERYONE’s gonna see that. And anyways, haven’t those Superhero “Comic Book Movie” broken out of the cinematic Genre ghetto… and are now accepted as just normal/regular Films? You know, just like the latest Rom/Com, Judd Apatow-type, and Tyler Perry Films? ;) )

  75. Alan Coil says:

    Rick Rottman said: “@Alan Coil: You said that Chloe Moretz’s parents should be placed under arrest because they allowed their daughter to say words you personally find offensive. That’s more than just an opinion.”

    No, it’s my opinion. Contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

    And I am not offended by the words. Repeating my main point…children should not be talking like that, actors or not.

  76. Alan – should Brooke Shields’s mom have been arrested for allowing her daughter to portray a 12 year old prostitute in the movie “Pretty Baby”? After all, she was her manager at the time.

    This conversation is ridiculous.

    Kids her age – the same age as my niece know all these words. They sit and watch “Family Guy” and “Robot Chicken” all day on their tivos instead of doing their homework.

    ~

    Coat

  77. Torsten Adair says:

    Just came out of the 4:30 showing of Kick-Ass. Lots of people, enjoyable. Word of mouth will spread.

    Loved the motion comic!

    Two comics promos: Iron Man 2 and Scott Pilgrim. One guy behind me said he’d watch it.

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