Layer Cake director Matthew Vaughn’s send-up of the superhero genre Kick-Ass has already earned the hearts and minds of fanboys everywhere. But how will it do in theaters? Right now the film, about a group of regular people who become superheroes, is obviously tracking really well with young men. It’s also scoring with teens. But that audience is going to have more trouble getting into the R-rated flick. This weekend also marks the debut of the R-rated Death at a Funeral starring Chris Rock and Tracy Morgan. The film, a remake of the 2007 British indie comedy, is likely to be Lakeview Terrace playwright Neil LaBute’s most commercial debut yet. How well it does all depends on the cross-over potential for the predominantly African-American cast. It will also be interesting to see how the high-profile holdovers – Clash of the Titans and Date Night – score with audiences in their subsequent weekends in theaters.
1. Kick-Ass: $29 million
With a negative cost of only $28 million and the biggest name on the screen – Nicolas Cage – this film doesn’t have to be a behemoth for it to be a success. It does, however, seem to have that “it” factor that can turn a unique little movie into a blockbuster. And stand-out performances from Chloë Grace Moretz and Aaron Johnson are going to mean big things for these actors down the road. The studio is trying to tamp down expectations but my hunch is this film can get into the high 20s, perhaps low 30s when those fanboys show up in droves. After all, the film will start screening late Thursday night, to appease those the rabid fans.
2. Death at a Funeral: $19 million
With a cast that includes Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan, Zoe Saldana and Danny Glover, it’s no wonder the film is tracking with all audiences, regardless of color. What is a shock is that the movie, about all that could go wrong at a funeral, is tracking well with young women. Neil LaBute, best known for his dark, brooding dramas is a surprise choice to direct a comedy. With the studio declining to screen the movie for critics ahead of time, we don’t know if the results are good, but the materials they are putting out sure are attracting a crowd.
3. How to Train Your Dragon: $17 million
Dreamworks Animated flick only fell a ridiculously low 14 percent last weekend, so it’s unlikely the Viking-themed cartoon will experience a huge drop its fourth weekend in theaters with no other competition in sight. I would guess the movie falls off another 30 percent this frame, still giving it another $17 million and a total domestic cume of over $150 million.
4. Date Night: $13 million
The Tina Fey-Steve Carell starrer had a steeper drop-off than expected on Sunday, perhaps leading one to conclude that poor reviews encouraged audiences to stay home and watch the two comic geniuses for free on their respective NBC sitcoms. Since Kick-Ass and Death at a Funeral are both comedies that are quite difference from Date Night, the film could drop a respectable 50 percent its second weekend in theaters.
5. Clash of the Titans: $13 million
Clash should be able to call $130 million its new gross after this weekend in theaters. Whether or not the film holds better than a 50 percent drop remains to be seen. What could be interesting though is Date Night and Clash may be neck in neck at the derby for the second weekend in a row.