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Lionsgate is Set to KICK-ASS

by Joey Paur

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Last week we reported that three major movie studios were up to buy Matthew Vaughn's ultra violent comic book adaptation Kick-Ass. The three studios in the running were Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures, and Lionsgate.  Lionsgate was my pick and it looks like I win the game! Lionsgate has bought the movie and here is the official press release.

Studio Acquires U.S. And Canadian Rights To Comic Book Adaptation From Director of LAYER CAKE and STARDUST

Buzz Sensation At 2009 Comic-Con, It Stars Nicolas Cage, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Breakout Stars Aaron Johnson and Chloe Moretz

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Aug. 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- LIONSGATE((R)) (NYSE: LGF), the leading next generation studio, announced today that it has acquired U.S. and Canadian distribution rights to KICK-ASS, the hotly anticipated action-comedy from writer/director Matthew Vaughn (LAYER CAKE, STARDUST). Based on the groundbreaking, best-selling comic by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., KICK-ASS stars Nicolas Cage (the upcoming SEASON OF THE WITCH, KNOWING, NATIONAL TREASURE), rising star Aaron Johnson (the upcoming NOWHERE BOY), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (SUPERBAD) and Chloe Moretz ((500) DAYS OF SUMMER). The screenplay is written by Vaughn and Jane Goldman. The producers are Matthew Vaughn, Brad Pitt, Tarquin Pack and Kris Thykier; Millar and Romita Jr. are co-producers. The announcement was made today by Joe Drake, Lionsgate President, Motion Picture Group, and Co-Chief Operating Officer, and Jason Constantine, Lionsgate President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions.

KICK-ASS was the buzz sensation of the July Comic-Con in San Diego, where early footage was shown to wildly appreciative fans. The film is a privately financed independent production from Vaughn's Marv Films and Plan B Entertainment, and is currently in post-production. Lionsgate anticipates a wide release in 2010.

Said Constantine, "Matthew Vaughn is an amazing talent and a true original, and he has brought a whole new mindset to the action genre with KICK-ASS. KICK-ASS redefines the boundaries in terms of humor, action, story, character and tone -- it's the kind of movie that reminds us of why we go to the movies in the first place. Lionsgate is thrilled to bring KICK-ASS home to give it the next-generation launching pad it deserves."

Said Vaughn, "Making and financing KICK-ASS has been an amazing experience, and we've had two important goals from the start: make a singularly entertaining film and find the right studio to release it. With Lionsgate, I know that I've got a supportive and fearless team behind me. It's going to be fun working together to bring the film to audiences and those who are already fans of the comic book."

Said Pack, "The massive response we received at Comic-Con has been hugely important in launching the next wave of momentum for the film, and Lionsgate's marketing and distribution talents are a perfect fit for us. Lionsgate is a studio that is not afraid to do things differently, and that is the attitude that has characterized KICK-ASS from the very start."

The deal was negotiated for Lionsgate by Constantine, Eda Kowan, Senior Vice President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions, Wendy Jaffe, Executive Vice President Business & Legal Affairs, Acquisitions and Co-Productions; and by WME and Matthew Johnson of Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca, Fischer, Gilbert-Lurie, Stiffelman, Cook, Johnson, Lande & Wolf LLP, on behalf of the filmmakers.

SYNOPSIS

A twisted, funny, high-octane adventure, director Matthew Vaughn brings KICK-ASS to the big screen.

KICK-ASS tells the story of average teenager Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), a comic-book fanboy who decides to take his obsession as inspiration to become a real-life superhero. As any good superhero would, he chooses a new name -- Kick-Ass -- assembles a suit and mask to wear, and gets to work fighting crime. There's only one problem standing in his way: Kick-Ass has absolutely no superpowers.

His life is forever changed as he inspires a subculture of copy cats, is hunted by assorted violent and unpleasant characters, and meets up with a pair of crazed vigilantes, including an 11-year-old sword-wielding dynamo, Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz) and her father, Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage).

ABOUT LIONSGATE

Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) is the leading next generation studio with a strong and diversified presence in the production and distribution of motion pictures, television programming, home entertainment, family entertainment, video-on-demand and digitally delivered content. The Company has built a strong television presence in production of prime time cable and broadcast network series, production, distribution and syndication of programming through Debmar-Mercury, reality programming through its joint venture with ISH Entertainment and an array of channel platforms, including its partnership with One Equity Partners and Allen Shapiro in TV Guide Network and TV Guide.com, its partnership with Viacom and MGM in the multiplatform premium channel Epix, its partnership with Sony and Comcast in the branded horror channel FEARnet and its recent launch of the KIX action channel and the Thrill horror/suspense channel in Asia. Its feature film business achieved a record box office performance in the January-March 2009 quarter, driven by the success of "Tyler Perry's Madea Goes To Jail," "My Bloody Valentine 3-D" and "The Haunting In Connecticut." The Company's home entertainment business has grown to more than 7% market share and leads the industry in its box office-to-DVD revenue conversion rate. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 12,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as the foundation for the growth of the Company's core businesses. The Lionsgate brand remains synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.

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