This Week in DVD & Blu-ray is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD and Blu-ray releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy and Fry’s.

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KICK-ASS
Kick-Ass has no meaningful substance to be gleaned from it, and no thoughtful social commentary to be analyzed. You can try to justify that it does, whether it’s through its depiction of the effect of the media/internet or the way it contrasts the peppy, light-hearted tone of comic books with a more realistically obscene presentation of the horrific violence that occurs in them, but ultimately, it’s a movie defined entirely by fist-pumping energy and a ‘fuck you’ attitude. In adapting the comic for the screen, co-writer/director Matthew Vaughn brings a whole new perspective to the material, playing it as a gleeful perversion of big summer blockbusters like Spider-Man. Except in this version, it isn’t supernatural forces that force the comic book world onto our hero; it’s our hero who tries to inject the comic book world into reality. This doesn’t end well for him. He has the necessary dedication (read: insanity), but not the talent or skill to do anything with it. Enter the father-daughter duo Big Daddy and Hit-Girl, who have both the requisite ass-kicking abilities and mental instability, and use them to propel our gang of screwed up misfits face-first into a world where comic book logic rules all. As much as the movie satirizes and pokes fun at the tropes of comic books and comic book movies, it does so lovingly, and doesn’t hesitate to embrace the absurdity that they provide. And it’s all done with a fantastic sense of pace and set piece staging by Vaughn. The action sequences here are among the best I’ve seen in years, each one offering something entirely different from the last and, somehow, effortlessly maintaining a thrilling intensity despite the silliness surrounding them. Come 2011, expect to see Kick-Ass near the top of my Best of 2010 list.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – A commentary with director Matthew Vaughn, 2 featurettes (“The Art of KICK-ASS”, “It’s On! The Comic Book Origin of KICK-ASS”), and a Marketing Archive. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as an Ass-Kicking BonusView Mode, a 4-part A New Kind of Superhero: The Making of KICK-ASS featurette, and a digital copy of the film.

BEST DVD PRICE
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$16.99$17.99$16.97
Amazon – $16.99

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
TargetBest BuyFry’s
$24.99$22.99$24.99
Amazon – $22.99

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Kick-Ass Hit-Girl

Since Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass burst onto screens a few weeks ago, speculation has swirled as to whether or not the film performed well enough at the box office to warrant a sequel. A recent press release (via Forces of Geek) for the forthcoming CLiNT magazine, a joint venture between Millar and Titan Magazines, suggests that the sequel to the film, Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall, will begin production in 2011 for a 2012 theatrical release.
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LOL: Kick-Ass Version of Operation

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Hasbro has begun licensing out their classic board game Operation to other popular licenses. In a previous version of Cool Stuff, we mentioned the Iron Man 2 version of the game. Das Chupa created this awesome Kick-Ass variation of the game, which is likely to never, ever, hit store shelves. Although it is a perfect fit if you ask me. Here is what the author said.

If you have read the comic or seen the movie you know only ass that was kicked was the hero’s. So, it would seem a perfect compliment for Hasbro’s Operation: Kick-ass. Simply install the nodes to your nether regions as per the comic and relive 117 minutes of mind numbing ass kickery! Also if ya got it in yer schedule, you too can participate in Super Punch’s Kick Ass Theme Month! Now, back to discussing how misleading the advertising was for this “comedy”…

Check out the full design after the jump.

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How To Train Your Dragon

The weekend box office estimates are in, and we have some good news and some bad news:

  • The bad news: Word of mouth did not help Lionsgate’s Kick-Ass, the comic book adaptation dropped an estimated 52% in its second weekend at theaters. In fact, it will place #5 on the Box office results listing this weekend with only $9.5 million in 3,065 theaters.
  • The good news: The word of mouth buzz on How To Train Your Dragon continues to draw more and more people to the theater. In its fifth weekend of release, the film took over the #1 spot with an estimated $15 million, overtaking new releases like The Back-Up Plan ($12.25 million), The Losers ($.6 million) and Disney’s Oceans ($6 million).

In limited releases, one of my favorite films of the year thus far, Exit Through The Gift Shop, packed $13,545 per screen, for a total of $149,000 — not bad for a movie playing in only 11 theaters. To give you a comparison, Kick-Ass made $3,100 per screen this week — but yes, A LOT more screens.

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Kick-Ass Outdoor Art Posters - Hit GirlIn this week’s /Filmcast, David Chen, Devindra Hardawar, and Adam Quigley praise the virtues of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, and lament the state of a Hollywood that doesn’t allow a James Bond movie to be made. Special guest Jeff Goldsmith joins us from Creative Screenwriting Magazine and its podcast.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next week on Tuesday night at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST at Slashfilm’s live page as we review The Losers.

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Mark Millar on Kick-Ass’ Box Office Performance

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This past weekend, Kick-Ass barely won the box office crown in a photo finish with How to Train Your Dragon. Since then, people have been throwing a lot of numbers around about how profitable the film will actually end up being. In the past, Millar has been quoted as saying that Vaughn raised around $70 million to make Kick-Ass. In my recent interview with him, the number he used was $40 million. On the flip side, when Lionsgate acquired Kick-Ass last summer, Variety cited speculation that the deal was worth around $45 million. A recent LATimes article stated that Lionsgate “paid $15 million for distribution rights to the independently financed film,” and “spent a little less than $30 million on advertising and prints.” Lionsgate will end up keeping half the gross, while the rest stays with movie exhibitors.

So how well exactly is Kick-Ass doing? Millar weighed in on the film’s box office performance in a statement to MTV. Hit the jump for his perspective.
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Kick-Ass Poster top

Update: The original Sunday Box Office estimates were a bit off, and Kick-Ass did end up beating How To Train Your Dragon, but with only a $200,000 differential. Kick-Ass wins the weekend with a $19.8 million take for the three days, while Dreamworks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon came in second with $19.6 million, representing only a 21 percent fall from last weekend. However, this does not change the fact that Kick-Ass disappointed at the box office. Original report can be read below:

In a shocker, DreamWorks Animation’s How To Train Your Dragon beat out Kick-Ass at the box office over the weekend. Dragon, which is in its fourth week of release, managed to claw its way from #3 last week to #1 with an estimated $20 million. It seems like the good word of mouth has been making an impact at the box office. You may recall that we’ve been very vocally supportive of the film, despite the painfully bad marketing which resulted in a lower than expected opening weekend. Sadly, this is the same story for Kick-Ass, but will they get the same reprieve?

I have been very vocal about Lionsgate’s attempts to market Kick-Ass as a colorful (see the poster art above) mainstream comic book movie with possible kid appeal instead of the violent vulgar r-rated geek-fantasy wish-fulfillment story that it actually is. Television commercials like this certainly didn’t help the case. The hope was that Kick-Ass would earn $30 million or more in its first week in theaters, and the the positive word of mouth would give it legs. Instead, the first week looks to have resulted in only $19.75 million.

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David’s Kick-Ass Movie Review

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Kick-Ass is the logical culmination of the last decade of popular American cinema, displaying many of the trends we’ve seen in recent memory and upping them to their nth degree. Consider that this film includes the following: the manifestation of the superhero origin story in its most extreme form; the over-stylization of balletic violence that has become a hallmark of many action films; the continued upswing of Nicolas Cage’s career, begun with Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, and now crystallized in his preposterous/hilarious performance in this film; the lionization of Chloe Grace Moretz, not only as an action star for this generation (whether you find that disturbing or not), but as an actress to be taken seriously. Putting all of that aside, director Matthew Vaughn has created an irresistible take on the superhero film, filled with humor and wanton violence. Borrowing over $40 million to produce the film independently, Vaughn has created something quite unlike the superhero films that have preceded this. For that reason alone, it’s something that’s worth seeing in theaters this weekend.
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markmillar

Mark Millar is one of the most exciting people working in the entertainment industry today. Millar’s Wanted was made into an action film that grossed over $300 million worldwide and his upcoming film Kick Ass (based on a comic book that he wrote, which was then adapted for the screen by Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman) is one of my favorite films of the year so far.

I had the chance to speak with Millar recently, and while I’ve always had a mental image of him as a wildly outspoken comic book writer, loaded with enthusiasm and hyperbole, I was pleasantly surprised to find that he was soft-spoken and absolutely charming. We chatted about how movie studios hated the script for Kick Ass, his thoughts on Christopher Nolan’s work on recent superhero films, his aversion to violence and obscenity, why he doesn’t think his work will ever be adapted to TV, and what it’s like to make a film outside the studio system.  You can listen to our interview below, or hit the jump to read some highlights.

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[Thanks to /Filmcast listener Justin for helping me to put this interview together.  Photo above by Flickr user vee.]

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