Lionsgate comedy to kick off festival March 12

South by Southwest has unveiled the first pics in its lineup with Lionsgate’s action-comedy “Kick-Ass” as its opening night film.

SXSW, entering its 17th year, will be held in Austin, Texas from March 12-20. “Kick-Ass,” directed by Matthew Vaughn and starting Aaron Johnson, is based on a comicbook by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. about a comics-obsessed teenager who decides to become a real-life superhero despite a decided lack of superpowers.

“‘Kick-Ass’ is a truly fun ride, with non-stop action, clever humor, and even heart, which is exactly what our audience has come to love and expect from SXSW every year,” said Film Conference and Festival Producer Janet Pierson.

Lionsgate is opening “Kick-Ass” nationwide on April 16.

Other pics in the lineup include the first public screening of “Hubble 3D,” shown in Imax and focusing on space-walking astronauts as they attempt among the most difficult tasks in NASA’s history. The film is directed and produced by Toni Myers.

SXSW will also screen “Saturday Night,” directed by actor James Franco and centered on what it takes to create an episode of the show, “Saturday Night Live.”

The fest’s screening “Cold Weather,” a feature directed by SXSW alum Aaron Katz about a former forensic science major and avid reader of detective fiction, who, after making a mess of his life in Chicago, returns to his hometown of Portland.

SXSW will also feature the world premiere of “Elektra Luxx,” following last year’s preem of “Women In Trouble” at SXSW 2009. Writer/director Sebastian Gutierrez follows a hectic day in the life of a former adult film superstar as she tries to survive in the straight world. The film stars Carla Gugino in the title role, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Timothy Olyphant, Emmanuelle Chriqui and Malin Akerman.

SXSW has scheduled the documentary “Lemmy,” directed and produced by Greg Olliver and Wes Orchoski, which delves into the personal and public lives of heavy metal icon and Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister.

In 2008, Universal launched “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” at SXSW. The Weinstein Co. and New Line Cinema held launches for “The Promotion” and “Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay,” respectively.

In 2009, the fest held the world premieres of Paramount/DreamWorks’ “I Love You, Man” and Warner’s “Observe and Report” and the U.S. preems for Summit’s “The Hurt Locker” and Uni’s “Drag Me to Hell.”

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more