In a typical January to April malaise, Tinseltown is pegging you as a disappointment, and if the bottom line is the only factor used to determined such a dynamic, they are right.
Come on - you can't even beat a three week old 3D kids movie about dragons? How crappy is that? Seriously, Kick-Ass, what exactly is your problem? You are smart and funny, exciting and brilliantly anti-social. You are the post-modern geek zeitgeist personified - cinematically speaking - and provide enough moments of movie satisfaction (guilty or proper) to warrant a series all your own. Yet your first week in the trenches and the best you can pull is $19 million? 19 measly million? Avatar made that while James Cameron was taking a whiz. Something is wrong here. Something is very wrong and it's almost impossible to find a rationale. In a typical January to April malaise, Tinseltown is pegging you as a disappointment, and if the bottom line is the only factor used to determined such a dynamic, they are right.
Granted, you're only following a pattern set up over the last few years. Ever since Zack Snyder turned stylized homoeroticism into a lot more than 300 million at the box office, the studio suits have been looking for that breakout pre-Summer hit. They tried last year with Watchmen, and even though the revisionist superhero movie made some decent scratch, the lack of a Dark Knight-esque payday provided ample room for grousing. For every Cloverfield, there's been a Friday the 13th or a Be Kind, Rewind. Still, when dollars can be dug up and exploited, Hollywood is right there, cynical shovel in hand. The enthusiastic response Kick-Ass received early on just didn't translate across mainstream lines. Some may argue that those initially embracing the film were the very demo it was directed at (Comic-Con and Ain't It Cool News Butt-Numb-a-thon types), which made a wider appeal impossible. Others have pointed to the web-based tweet lovefest and screamed Snakes on a Plane.
Unfortunately, turning this excellent coming of age entertainment into another installment of Birdemic seems silly. True, it didn't set the turnstiles on fire, and it's destined to get lost in the firestorm of last minute macabre (the Nightmare on Elm Street remake is coming in 10 days) and the "yep, it's here" hoopla of Iron Man 2 and Summer 2010. Yet for everyone involved in the film, the backers and the beleaguered cast and crew, there's a real ripple effect that's destined, depending on the ultimate outcome, to taint their career trajectory. With its relatively low production costs and massive home video potential, Kick-Ass is not necessarily a flop. But when expectations are matched against actualities, there is bound to be more disappointment than delight. Let's start with the distributor who gambled, and more or less lost:
The Comic Books by Mark Millar & John Romita Jr.
Jeffery Aaron Johnson/Chloë Grace Moretz/Christopher Mintz-Plasse