Three Studios Fight For Their Right to ‘Kick-Ass’

By  · Published on August 11th, 2009

After getting the cold shoulder from just about everyone in Hollywood and having to independently fund his teen-violence flick Kick-Ass, director Matthew Vaughn appears to be getting the last laugh. The once scoffed at property, which is an adaptation of a popular comic by Mark Millar (Wanted), is now being touted as a ‘franchise-level property’ despite the fact that it features a 10-year old girl who cuts bad guys in half. Personally, that would’ve been selling point number one for me if I were a studio exec. – but that’s probably why they don’t give me jobs like that.

According to THR’s Risky Biz, three studios are currently in the running to become the distributor of Kick-Ass: Lionsgate, Paramount and Universal. Paramount financed and distributed Matthew Vaughn’s last film, Stardust in 2007. Universal backed and released Mark Millar’s last adaptation Wanted last year, which went on to make $134 million at the domestic box office. And Lionsgate, well, they will distribute anything that is violent and potentially tasteless (i.e. Saw, Crank). All three studios are a potential fit for the film, with Paramount being the smartest option from a marketing perspective. They would likely have the largest P&A budget, with Universal coming in a close second. Lionsgate wouldn’t be my first choice, as they are a smaller studio with a history of under-marketing good films, but they do have a way with making something out of a film that contains otherwise deplorable content.

In the end, the person who really wins is Matthew Vaughn, who went out and made his film without the backing of a major studio, then went to Comic-Con and rocked the house with footage and kicked the buzz machine in the hind quarters. Now he has studios scrambling to pay him millions of dollars for his little film that could. Good on him, I say. The film is targeting an early 2010 release date, pending a distributor, so we’ll keep an eye on things for you. In the meantime, check out the film’s official synopsis below:

Dave Lizewski, a kid growing up in a rundown suburb of Americ. He isn’t a gamer, he isn’t a jock, he isn’t a mathlete, he’s just a regular kid. When he is not hanging out at the local comic store with his friends Todd and Marty, he is fantasising about his school teacher and Katie Deauxma, the class hottie. The only thing that is unusual about Dave is that about a year ago his Mother died. But somehow through this blend of normality, teenage angst and irritation at being continually mugged, Dave makes the decision to become a superhero’ KICK ASS! Dave’s first foray into being a Superhero results in him being stabbed and run over. When Dave recovers he realises he can’t walk away from being a hero, and when he successfully steps in on a mugging he brings himself to the attention of the US media and Frank D’Amico could this be the guy who knicked his coke? As Dave gets sucked into the dark world of vigilante crime fighting he gains a sidekick named ‘Red Mist’.

Which studio would you like to see distribute Kick-Ass?

Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)