North American box office: ‘Kick-Ass’ can’t quite kick ass…

…and How to Train Your Dragon continues breathing fire:

1. Kick-Ass: $19.8 million (NEW)
2. How to Train Your Dragon: $19.6 million (4th week; drops 21%)
3. Date Night: $16.7 million (2nd week; drops 34%)
4. Death at a Funeral: $16.2 million (NEW)
5. Clash of the Titans: $15.4 million (3rd week; drops 42%)

actual numbers, not estimates
Oo, exciting! Kick-Ass and How to Train Your Dragon were neck-and-neck on Sunday, and they still are! Box Office Mojo is pointing out that

Distributor Lionsgate is counting non-weekend Thursday night grosses towards ‘Kick-Ass’s weekend gross. The difference could be large enough that ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ is actually No. 1.

I swear, it’s like sandbox posturing, this “we won the weekend” nonsense. I can’t see how Lionsgate can call it a victory that Kick-Ass is No. 1 with a movie that’s been open for a month so hard on its heels. Whether Kick-Ass is a couple of hundred thousand bucks over or under Dragon, it’s gotta be a disappointment, when Kick-Ass was so hyped and, we were told, was one of the most anticipated movies of the year. (Also: look for the geek backpedaling on why Kick-Ass’s box office performance isn’t as bad as it looks.) Of course, Kick-Ass was made on a small budget ($30 million); by that measure, it’s going to do very well indeed. But this was supposed to be the next coming of Batman, or something.

Perhaps this is a lesson in not overhyping movies. If it succeeds anyway, then it’s a “surprise.” But there’s nothing attractive about a climbdown.

On the other hand, Dragon is looking like the little $165 million movie that could, taking only a shallow drop in its fourth week, even though, apparently, no one likes dragon movies.

Over its third weekend, Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too plummeted 63 percent. Ouch.

On a per-screen basis, arthouse films dominated:

The City of Your Final Destination: $24,401 (on its 1 screen)
Exit Through the Gift Shop: $21,345 (on each of 8 screens)
The Secret in Their Eyes: $16,787 (10 screens)

The only wide releases in the per-screen top 10 were Funeral and Kick-Ass at Nos. 6 and 7, with, respectively, $6,595 (2,459 screens) and $6,469 (3,065 screens).

[numbers via Box Office Mojo]

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