'Kick-Ass' takes a seat at Lionsgate

Distributor plans wide release in U.S., Canada in 2010

Lionsgate has picked up U.S. and Canadian distribution rights to "Kick-Ass," Matthew Vaughn's comic book adaptation that made a splash at Comic-Con.

The company is eying a wide release in 2010.

Vaughn's Marv Films and Plan B Entertainment privately financed the production when Hollywood studios found the material risky; one character is a profanity-laced tween who cuts down opponents with a samurai sword.

Vaughn, who directed and co-wrote the script, brought footage to Comic-Con International in San Diego last month in an attempt to stoke the fires of acquisition, a gamble that paid off when the movie received enthusiastic support from fans, paving the way for buyer screenings around town.

Universal, Paramount and Fox Searchlight were among the companies chasing the movie. International rights have not been sold.

Given the graphic nature of the movie, pairing it with Lionsgate seems a good fit. The company isn't afraid to pull out the stops when marketing edgier fare, as it does when releasing its "Saw" horror movies.

Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. wrote the comic book on which "Kick-Ass" is based. The comic and movie center on a high school dweeb (played by Aaron Johnson) who attempts to reinvent himself as a real-world costumed superhero despite not being athletic or coordinated and then runs into real villains with real weapons.

Nicolas Cage, Chloe Moretz and Christopher Mintz-Plasse also star.