LOS ANGELES — The top movies at the weekend box office have flip-flopped again, with the superhero comedy "Kick-Ass" edging out the animated adventure "How to Train Your Dragon."
Final studio numbers Monday have Lionsgate's "Kick-Ass" at No. 1 with $19.8 million. DreamWorks Animation's "How to Train Your Dragon," distributed by Paramount, ran a close No. 2 with $19.6 million.
On Sunday, Paramount had estimated "How to Train Your Dragon" took in $20 million, but the final number came in $400,000 lower.
The same thing happened the previous weekend, when 20th Century Fox's "Date Night" was reported as No. 1 based on Sunday estimates. Final numbers Monday gave the box-office victory to the Warner Bros. release "Clash of the Titans."
"Kick-Ass" was expected to open in the $25 million-$30 million range. Aaron Johnson stars as a high-school student who transforms himself into a hapless, homemade superhero. Chloe Moretz co-stars as a combat-trained preteen girl, and Nicolas Cage as her father.
Reviews were strong, but the "R" rating in the United States, blocking admission to unaccompanied children under 17, likely hit sales, said David Spitz, executive vice president for distribution at distributor Lionsgate.
Spitz, emboldened by the holding power of "Dragon," predicted "Kick-Ass" would "play and play and play" in coming weeks.
"The 'definite recommends' (from exit polling) are through the roof compared to the norms," Spitz said.
The film previously opened below forecasts in Britain, Australia and New Zealand, but has also held up, he added.
"Death at a Funeral," an urban remake of the 2007 British comedy of the same name, opened within industry expectations. The film, produced by Sony Corp's mid-range Screen Gems label for $21 million, skewed to older women, the studio said.
"Date Night," a romantic comedy starring Tina Fey and Steve Carell, has earned just over $49 million after 10 days. The 20th Century Fox release also enjoyed a modest drop, of 31 percent. Fox is a unit of News Corp.
"Clash of the Titans" fell four places to No. 5 with $15.8 million in its third weekend; the tally for the mythological epic rose to $133 million. The film was released by Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc.
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