After a flashy and widespread marketing campaign courtesy of Universal Pictures, Kick-Ass 2 stormed into theaters last night with some serious midnight madness. Fans of the first film turned out to the tune of $1.3 million—according to THR—and this impressive figure could give the sequel an edge over the competition this weekend.
Still, it’s a crowded field as today also sees the release of the prestige biopic Lee Daniels’ The Butler, the Ashton Kutcher-fronted Jobs, the tepid corporate espionage thriller Paranoia, the Rooney Mara/Casey Affleck crime drama Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, and the abysmal romantic comedy Austenland. As you may have gathered from the descriptors I chose for some of the above, we’re in a bleak part of the cinema season. All the big and most high-anticipated releases have opened, and now we’re left with the dregs that probably couldn’t have competed elsewhere. I say this having seen four of these six films and having heard from critics I trust the other two weren’t worth watching.
But while the critic community have largely sneered at this week’s releases, it remains to be seen if the public will feel the same. Despite earning a 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Kick-Ass 2 is off to a strong start, and THR points out it has the advantage of a built in audience as it is a sequel to a modest hit. It’s expected the demographic for this pic will skew younger than the rest of its competition, but that makes it’s R-rating an obstacle. (Unless you're of the mind that children should be taken to intensely violent superhero movies.) The first Kick-Ass netted an impressive $19.8 million its opening weekend back in April of 2010, so it’s part two has to break $20 mil not to be seen as a step down.
With a cast that boasts a barrage of stars from Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey to Alan Rickman and Robin Williams, Lee Daniel’s The Butler is Kick-Ass 2's biggest competition of the aforementioned crop. It’s enjoying far more critical praise, earning a 72% on Rotten Tomatoes, and has the highest profile marketing campaign. Also working in its favor, the drama that reveals the true story of an African-American butler who worked in the White House for more than three decades is expected to play to various demographics and across race lines. While both films are opening in more than 2,900 screens, Lee Daniel’s The Butler was ahead in online ticket sales as of yesterday.
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and Austenland aren’t really a threat to either as they are both opening in limited release. That leaves Jobs and Paranoia, which each earned lower RT scores with the former getting 25% and the latter just 3%. Things are looking equally grim on their financial fronts. The biopic about Apple founder Steve Jobs cost $15 mil to make, and reportedly another $20 mil has been spent in promotion. But tracking indicates Jobs is heading for a meager $10 million weekend. As for the Paranoia, the thriller Katey called “dated,” “silly and meaningless,” it looks to make less than $5 million this weekend. This means the $35 million feature could be deemed a loser before it even comes out the gate.
Worse yet for these new releases, they aren’t the only movies in the running for the top of the box office spots. THR notes it’s possible last week’s winners Elysium and We’re the Millers could well continue their streak, especially since $30 mil was all it took for the former to earn the #1 position. With things looking so dismal in new releases, this seems a good time to remind you, dear readers, about what great movies are Now Streaming.