Edgy, bloody, potty-mouthed: Ain’t that a ‘Kick-Ass’ film
LOS ANGELES — Like any red-blooded comic book movie, Kick-Ass comes with the requisite fixtures: secret identities, capes and masks, arch villains.
What separates this from, say, a Batman or Spider-Man, is that these superheroes — many of them children — are shot, stabbed, hit by cars and launched off buildings. And they drop epithets like longshoremen.
CONTROVERSY: A word uttered by Chloe Moretz
On the heels of Sin City, Wanted and Watchmen, Kick-Ass, which opens Friday, is the latest R-rated comic book adaptation aiming to up the ante in body parts, bloodshed and shock value.
But while those films have ardent supporters (with cash), primarily in the fanboy universe, adult-themed comic movies have a spotty record as moneymakers.
The $40 million Sin City did $74 million, and the $75 million Wanted raked in $135 million. But the $150 million Watchmen did $108 million, prompting Warner Bros. and Marvel to distance themselves from future R-rated comic book adaptations.
“Comic book movies are pushing the envelope more than any genre right now,” says Chad Hartigan of industry tracking firm Exhibitor Relations. “But just how far they can go is still a guess.”
Every major studio said no to the brutal script about normal kids who become superheroes at their own peril. One 11-year-old vigilante (Chloe Moretz) calls her enemies what some consider the most profane word in the English language before slicing her enemies like lunch meat.
“I guess we could have toned it down,” Vaughn says. “But comics have been a bit stale. It’s time for something more edgy, post-modern. And why change a comic book if it’s good?”
After preview footage drew a standing ovation at Comic-Con last year, Lionsgate snapped up the film, which also stars Nicolas Cage.
“Everything we love about it, the (big) studios hated,” Millar says. “It would have been rubbish if we’d left it in their hands.”