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Posted at 4:45 PM ET, 04/19/2010

BOX OFFICE: Weak 'Kick-Ass' barely kicks 'Dragon' tail [UPDATED]

By Michael Cavna

Note: This post originally published at 10:30 a.m. today and updated at 4:45 p.m.

UPDATE: As Comic Riffs suggested this morning might happen, "Kick-Ass" has benefited from a day of adjusted box-office numbers. (Ah, the "magic" of Hollywood.) According to Variety, "Kick-Ass" has edged "Dragon," $19.83-million to $19.63-million, making it the weekend's official No.-1 film in North America. What the numbers don't adjust, however, is how much "Kick-Ass" underperformed in light of industry expectations. Which means please, Variety -- don't try to tell us "Kick-Ass" "slays" anything -- even in headline hyperbole.

dragon1.jpg Hiccup, dragon trainer. (DreamWorks Animation SKG)

Perhaps "Kick-Ass" will have the staying power of "How to Train Your Dragon." But after its weak debut weekend, "Kick-Ass" should be so lucky.

Much was expected of Lionsgate's "Kick-Ass," thanks to mostly positive reviews (Roger Ebert's thoughtful slam was a notable exception) for the profane-kiddy "superhero" film, and the heat that comes from Matthew Vaughn directing the hot-selling comic by Mark Millar and the great John Romita Jr. But DreamWorks Animation's "Dragon" made $20-million to edge "Kick-Ass" ($19.8-million) -- surely unleashing scores of "Dragon kicks the @ss of debut film" and " 'Kick-Ass' doesn't" heds 'cross the Web.

The well-crafted "Dragon" -- initially declared a bit of a box-office disappointment, even spurring a dip in DreamWorks's stock -- has shown minimal dropoff over the past month and has now grossed roughly a respectable $160-million.

"Kick-Ass" may not be so fortunate as "Dragon," though. For one thing, the uber-bloody film is rated "R," so it might continue to lose much of its potential audience. In addition, the "summer"-movie season is fast approaching -- "Iron Man 2" debuts in early May -- so it won't enjoy the window that "Dragon" has had since "Alice in Wonderland" ("Dragon" inherited many of "Alice's" 3-D theaters) began to fade from view.

Meantime, "Kick-Ass" can try to hold out hope that box-office numbers will be adjusted today and that maybe -- just maybe -- it can nose out the "Dragon" by day's end. Stay tuned.

By Michael Cavna  | April 19, 2010; 4:45 PM ET
Categories:  The Holly Word  | Tags:  How to Train Your Dragon, Kick-Ass the Movie  
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