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Kick-Ass Movie: ‘Superhero’ Aaron Johnson (Sorta) Tops Chart

Kick-Ass movie Aaron JohnsonKick-Ass movie with Aaron Johnson. The British-made superhero parody managed to top the domestic box office chart – thanks to the underhanded assistance of distributor Lionsgate.
  • Kick-Ass movie box office: Starring Aaron Johnson as a superhero of sorts (“I can’t fly, but…”), Matthew Vaughn’s action- and expletive-filled parody was the top title on the domestic chart this past weekend. But was it really?

Kick-Ass movie box office: Starring Aaron Johnson as a (sorta) superhero, the R-rated action parody was (sorta) the weekend’s no. 1 title

April 16–18 weekend box office: Although it opened below expectations in North America (U.S. and Canada only), Matthew Vaughn’s R-rated Kick-Ass still managed to top the domestic chart this past weekend. That is, with the assistance of income from late-night Thursday screenings that distributor Lionsgate added to the final tally.

According to studio figures found at boxofficemojo.com, the action-packed, expletive-filled superhero parody grossed $19.8 million over the weekend (including an estimated $1.3 million from Thursday shows), thus barely edging out DreamWorks Animation’s sturdier than expected How to Train Your Dragon, which brought in $19.6 million.

Early estimates had the computer-animated 3D fantasy on top. And in fact, How to Train Your Dragon was the no. 1 movie if only weekend figures were tallied.

In any case, this is the second such flip-flop in a row: Last weekend, Date Night seized the domestic box office crown only to have it snatched away the next day by legitimate ruler Clash of the Titans.

”I can’t fly, but…”

A couple of comparisons regarding Kick-Ass’ initial gross: In April 2004, Quentin Tarantino’s R-rated Kill Bill: Vol. 2 opened to the tune of $25.1 million (around $31 million today). The following year, Robert Rodriguez’s R-rated Sin City opened with $29.1 million (around $34 million today).

An Anglo-American production, in relative terms the $30 million budget Kick-Ass has been performing far better in the United Kingdom. Depending on the source, Lionsgate acquired its domestic distribution rights for $15–$25 million.

In the Kick-Ass cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Oscar winner Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas, 1995), Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, and Aaron Johnson (“I can’t fly, but I can kick your ass”), who recently won the Most Promising Actor Jameson Empire Award for his portrayal of the young John Lennon in Sam Taylor-Wood’s Nowhere Boy.

Update: Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass ultimately collected $48.1 million domestically and $48.1 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $96.2 million. As expected, its biggest international market – by far – was the United Kingdom ($16.8 million).

Released in 2013, the $28 million budget Kick-Ass 2 performed even more modestly than the original: $28.8 million domestically and an estimated $32 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $60.8 million.

That helps to explain why there hasn’t been a Kick-Ass 3.


Kick-Ass Movie” endnotes

Unless otherwise noted, “Kick-Ass Movie: ‘Superhero’ Aaron Johnson (Sorta) Tops Chart” box office information via Box Office Mojo. Budget info – which should usually be taken with a grain of salt – via BOM and/or other sources.

Comments about Kick-Ass and other titles being hits/profitable or flops/money-losers at the box office (see paragraph below) are based on the available data about their production budget, additional marketing and distribution expenses (as a general rule of thumb, around 50 percent of the production cost), and worldwide gross (as a general rule of thumb when it comes to the Hollywood studios, around 50–55 percent of the domestic gross and 40 percent of the international gross goes to the distributing/producing companies).

Bear in mind that data regarding rebates, international pre-sales, and other credits and/or contractual details that help to alleviate/split production costs and apportion revenues are oftentimes unavailable, and that reported international grosses can be incomplete (i.e., not every territory is accounted for). Also bear in mind that ancillary revenues (domestic/global television rights, home video sales, streaming, merchandising, etc.) can represent anywhere between 40–70 percent of a movie’s total take; however, these revenues and their apportionment are only infrequently made public.

Lastly, although a more accurate reflection of a film’s popularity (i.e., its number of tickets sold), inflation-adjusted estimates should be taken with extreme caution. For instance, they’re based on average domestic ticket prices (via the National Association of Theater Owners, unless otherwise noted) whereas numerous major releases scored a large chunk of their box office take at top-priced venues.

Aaron Johnson Kick-Ass movie image: Dan Smith | Marv Films | Lionsgate.

Kick-Ass Movie: ‘Superhero’ Aaron Johnson (Sorta) Tops Chart” last updated in July 2022.

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