Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Debate

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So when the tale was written, SCOTT PILGRIM Vs THE WORLD ended up #5 at the box office with a disappointing $10.5 mil. This simple fact has caused ethnic wars everywhere on the internet. People ask, double rainbow-like, “What does it mean?” and argue over who is a fanboy, what is a fanboy, what is a comic book and whether star Michael Cera should be allowed to live.

We’d hinted earlier that it was looking more and more likely that SPvTW would fall to the “Comic-Con curse” and also the “Serenity Plague” — basically, all those free screenings to the already converted did nothing to improve word of mouth, and it also seems that everyone who wanted to see the movie had already seen it by the time it rolled out — sometimes two or three times!

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But, amazingly, when normal people actually go see Bryan Lee O’Malley’s SCOTT PILGRIM, they perceive it as the charming, warm-hearted, innovative genre-bending forward-looking film for our times that it is. And even half of the movie critics seem to “get it” — while the other half seem to think there is a joke they were left out of and know it. A.O. Scott in the NYT had a very positive review that straddled the lines:

But Mr. Wright’s deeper ingenuity (and Mr. O’Malley’s) is to collapse the distance between gamer and avatar not by throwing the player into the world of the game, but rather by bringing it to him. (If you want to reverse this process there is now a Scott Pilgrim video game.) As a result, the line between fantasy and reality is not so much blurred as erased, because the filmmakers create an entirely coherent, perpetually surprising universe that builds on Mr. O’Malley’s bold and unpretentious graphic style without slavishly duplicating it.

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We wouldn’t advise wading into the near 400 post comment thread on Deadline but one poster did sum up the way we feel about SCOTT PILGRIM: “Napoleon Dynamite with kung fu.” If SPvTW had been marketed as a $30 million quirky comedy with indie rock/video game sensibilities, it could have been a sleeper hit that cemented Edgar Wright as the next Danny Boyle.

Instead, inexplicably, Universal spent some $60 million (after Canadian tax rebates) and it was marketed as some kind of tentpole action flick with universal awareness and appeal. Which it never was. Some people have unfavorably compared the film to SPEED RACER, which to us sounds like a compliment, another example of forward-looking filmmaking that didn’t cross the goal line first.

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A lot of people are blaming Universal’s travails for the PILGRIM mystery — it’s in the middle of a government-mandated investigation into its looming acquisition by Comcast — and the fact that they have just greenlit a $200 million movie based on the board game Battleship would tend to support that hypothesis. “I just sank your P&L!”

The frustrating thing about all of this is that had the SP movie done well, it would have opened the door for Hollywood to see interesting non-superhero material as fodder for development. Now, along with the underperformance this year of THE LOSERS, KICK-ASS and JONAH HEX, many are wondering if the era of the comic book movie is over. No less a booster than Whitney Matheson tackles the question:

Finally, I don’t think the comic-book movie is dead by any means — I just think audiences may not be ready for the indie comic-book movie. And that’s a shame, because blockbuster comic flicks are getting pretty boring. They could learn a lot from Edgar Wright’s enthusiasm and inventiveness.

We don’t want to make too much of message board posters, but once again the Deadline crew displays a lot of ignorance that some could take as gospel over the Comic-Con generation. One HUGE point of contention: was KICK-ASS a bomb? Our answer: No, it was not. It was marketed as a mainstream movie, and it was not, but has been — as we correctly predicted last week — a huge hit on DVD and Blu-ray.

There’s also a lot of misunderstanding over just what is a fanboy in the wake of SCOTT PILGRIM’s debut. Haters are dissing the “fanboys” when the truth is that most middle-aged comics fans were already ambivalent or hostile to the comics indie vibe. SCOTT PILGRIM was never for superhero geeks. Video game geeks, yes, but that’s a far less outwardly nerdy demo than the original Comic-Con founders.

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We asked a few of our Hollywood pals for some insights and they pointed out that the simple fact is that SCOTT PILGRIM should never have opened up against the ’80s icons Depends-fest THE EXPENDABLES. In fact, we could have told you that after San Diego. Given a golden ticket to the SP panel, we got in early enough to see the tail end of the EXPENDABLES. After these grizzled tough guys — most of them legitimately still able to kick your ass — limped off the stage like warriors who have seen multiple campaigns, the SCOTT PILGRIM cast flitted onto the stage like tiny, adorable fairies, led by their very own Oberon, Edgar Wright. And with Bryan Lee O’Malley as Puck. It was Simon Bisley vs Charles Vess.

In the end, nothing can take away the magic — the giant posters over San Diego, the theme park, the flip books, the garlic bread. Even if perplexing in hindsight, it was special and memorable. And it has sold lots and lots and lots of graphic novels.

Most important, nothing can take away Bryan Lee O’Malley’s charming, thrilling, hilarious generation-defining graphic novels and the wonderful movie they inspired. When all this business talk is over we can all just go back to enjoying them as God intended.

Comments

  1. Charles Knight says:

    It’s amazing how many people “know” this was going to not be a massive hit before it was made! Amazing indeed.

  2. Charles Knight says:

    Opps, I meant “before it was released”.

  3. pulphope says:

    …reality check, people– an indie comic which was not even fully in print when sold to a major studio and was a story idea based on an unknown talent and an unknown property just breached the domestic box office top 5. That’s the real story here.

  4. “$60 million (after Conadian tax rebates)”

    Well, there was the problem right there, filming in Conada. You can’t just dress up a Conadian city and expect it to pass for Toronto.

  5. Christian says:

    FWIW, I actually didn’t think it would flop this hard. I figured that it fit in nicely as the counter-programing to Expendables. The movie couples could go see in lieu of the testosterone fest. I figured Expendables would still beat it of course, but not by as much.

    I failed to remember the miserable Eat Pray Love movie about some cackling half-dead corpse eating and moping for two hours. That movie ruined my theory by soaking up the “couples crowd” which given the heavy reliance on the “romance” aspect of the movie in the marketing campaign I think would have otherwise gone.

    Nevertheless, this flop does nothing to dissuade me from my hopes of a big screen version of Henry & Glenn Forever.

  6. Christian says:

    @pulphope – no one is discrediting this. But the question is, was it cost effective enough to get it there?

  7. Charles Knight says:

    “That movie ruined my theory by soaking up the “couples crowd” which given the heavy reliance on the “romance” aspect of the movie in the marketing campaign I think would have otherwise gone.”

    The other thing I find interesting is that more women went to see Expendables (39%) that SPATW (35%).

  8. Christian says:

    No woman can resist Jason Statham.

    This is a scientifically proven fact.

  9. Charles Knight says:

    “…reality check, people– an indie comic which was not even fully in print when sold to a major studio and was a story idea based on an unknown talent and an unknown property just breached the domestic box office top 5. That’s the real story here.”

    Men in Black has been there and done that if you want to take that tack. I think it’s largely irrelevant that this was a comic before.

  10. pulphope says:

    –Charles, good point. I forgot about MIB. Infact never saw the films…

  11. Tommy Raiko says:

    Over on his blog, Peter David tells an anecdote that introduces one more element to the Scott Pilgrim post-mortem. His daughter couldn’t interest her friends (all, presumably, in the sweet spot of the SPvTW
    demographic) in going to the movie, with them claiming that (a) they didn’t have the money to see the movie and (b) if they did want to see it, they had access to online sites where they could view it.

    One anecdote does not an explanation make, but it’s interesting to think that the diminished buying power of the film’s audience and/or the influence of pirate sites affected SPvTW more than they’d affect any other movie.

    http://www.peterdavid.net/index.php/2010/08/16/scott-pilgrim-vs-the-box-office/

  12. I saw the movie in the theater and liked it a lot. I liked it more than the comics, which I respected but saw as being aimed at a readers a lot younger and more game-savvy than me. The movie just demanded less “inside” knowledge. But maybe people are getting a little tired of Michael Cera’s schtick.

  13. Kat Kan says:

    My 15-year-old son loves Scott Pilgrim, both the gn series and the movie. My older son now says he and wife will probably go see it, given our recommendation to do so. I’m going to be talking this up as much as I can.

  14. Tom Spurgeon says:

    I would have seen “Kiss-Ass” 30 times.

  15. “But maybe people are getting a little tired of Michael Cera’s schtick.”

    If that’s the case, shouldn’t people have gotten tired of Will Ferrell’s extremely tired schtick by now? And for some reason (god only knows) his films still make money.

    I never read any of the Pilgrim books. Just not a fan of O’Malley’s artwork/storytelling, but I went to see the film Saturday on the strength of Wright’s resumé
    (“Spaced”, “Shaun”, “Hot Fuzz”, great stuff!) and that it looked like a fun film.

    It was. I enjoyed it very much and I agree with the “Speed Racer” comparisons. Both films have a unique look and feel, are very different then the tired stuff Hollywood’s pumping out and are true to the original source.

    Yes, the “Pilgrim” film made me buy the book (bought and read the first book yesterday) and despite my reticence with his artwork, I can see the similarities with it and the film.

  16. Maybe it just means that when the other movies are on a thousand more screens then your movie probably won’t be #1.

    I don’t know how or why theaters decide which movies get the most screens but apparently Sylvester Stallone and Julia Roberts are famous.

  17. Charles Knight says:

    “Maybe it just means that when the other movies are on a thousand more screens then your movie probably won’t be #1.”

    The per-screen averages were terrible as well.

  18. Christian says:

    @Tommy Raiko

    That’s just PAD. His whole schtick is that every one of life’s problems is because those darn kids on the interwebs are stealing everything!!

    I would take that entire anecdote with about a truck load and a half of salt.

  19. Apart from the obvious excuses of the miscast Michael Cera acting like Michael Cera yet again and the less-nerdy appeal of THE EXPENDABLES, it’s becoming more and more obvious that yes, movies based on indie comics with limited appeal are going to have equally limited appeal at the box office.

    The comic-book movie certainly isn’t dead by any means — just look at how much IRON MAN 2 pulled in despite being inferior to the original — but unless the property being adapted has considerable name recognition (meaning DC or Marvel superheroes, it seems) and haa a decent marketing campaign combined with a movie that actually delivers on its hype, then you may as well bank on box office disappointment.

    Some good will obviously come from the SCOTT PILGRIM film, though. We’ll have another fun DVD/Blu-Ray to enjoy at home, probably in time for Christmas and the books should gain some new fans they might not have had otherwise. I’m just not going to hold my breath waiting for my long-desired film adaptations of GROO THE WANDERER or AMERICAN FLAGG.

  20. Charles Knight says:

    “I would take that entire anecdote with about a truck load and a half of salt.”

    Following the logic in PAD’s story, Twilight should have bombed as should have any number of other films.

  21. I think it’s awesome that a movie based off of an indie comic broke the top 5 weekend for top grossing.

    But I think with how little it opened with as the article mentions could hurt other indie comics being made into movies. I hope it’s not the case, because Scott Pilgrim was an amazing movie and there certainly is a lot more great stuff to pull from out there.

    I like to think it probably would have done better if Inception wasn’t still playing in more theaters than Scott Pilgrim (something like 600+ more) and Expendables hadn’t come out this weekend.

  22. Charles – I don’t necessarily disagree, but I don’t think Scott Pilgrim is the definitive example of indie comics limited appeal – rather, I think it is cautionary tale. Both Blade and Hellboy both performed well above expectations and share many of SP’s attributes (lesser known property, non-blockbuster casts). The difference was competition.

    A movie like Scott Pilgrim needs to open on a slower weekend. To repeat what I said on the other thread, put SP up against Piranha 3D and I can’t imagine the movie fails to hit #1.

  23. Shannon…

    If you look at per screen take, Scot Pilgrim did even worse, with an average of $3,765.

    $10,000 is a great opening per screen. I think The Dark Knight holds the record with $36,283 among wide releases. (Miley Cyrus holds the all-time record for regular releases, and an Imax documentary from 2005 pulled in $41,594 in one theater last weekend.)

    Of course, Scott Pilgrim didn’t have an IMAX version, which means it wasn’t able to charge more per ticket. Given the cinematography and soundtrack, and the market for this movie, it probably should have been released in IMAX.

  24. and to add a final dink in PAD’s logic armor: the biggest box office movies EVER: Batman, Spiderman, Iron Man, LOTR, AVATAR,… (billion dollar grossing movies all) all came out in the downloading era.

  25. Nathan Marik says:

    If Season 3 of “Chuck” was any kind of indicator… the box office performance is Brandon Rouths fault.

  26. I’d say Edgar Wright’s more like the new Sam Raimi.

  27. “Apart from the obvious excuses of the miscast Michael Cera acting like Michael Cera yet again and the less-nerdy appeal of THE EXPENDABLES, it’s becoming more and more obvious that yes, movies based on indie comics with limited appeal are going to have equally limited appeal at the box office.”

    Depends. If the marketing campaign and release strategy for Scott Pilgrim had been more reflective of an indie film than a major blockbuster-wannbe, then perhaps the movie could have had more time to build word of mouth from more limited sceenings. Build a campaign more like what Paramount did for Paranormal Activity. But instead, Universal decided to throw caution to the wind, and now SP looks like an overblown flop. Still, #5 at the box office first weekend isn’t the worst fate for something that displays so much visual creativity. It’ll more likely find its audience of gamer buffs at home once it hits DVD.

    Speed Racer isn’t all that valid of a compaison, since that property license was ancient, and few people other than nostalgia buffs still cared anymore. Still, today’s movie-going audiences in general go for whatever looks most comfortable to their demographic, and that fact hasn’t changed in decades.

  28. I’m still shocked The Simpsons caught on with people.

    Edgar Wright will keep making great films, maybe one day they’ll catch on with the mainstream but we’re lucky he does them.
    Looking forward to the DVD.

    Here’s a great video he made…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k28EvIFcdug

  29. If anything has been proven this summer, its that a massive opening weekend doesn’t make a movie good (Shyamalan’s embarassing ‘The Last Airbender’) and a miserable opening weekend doesn’t make a movie bad, that movie being ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’.
    My fiance and I saw a free screening here in Boston (of which there seemed to be quite a few)2 weeks ago. And while I’d only read a bit of the comic and he hadn’t read it at all, it was still damn entertaining.
    Perhaps after more positive feedback gets around this movie will have a better second week. Sort of in the same way that word of mouth effectively killed ‘Airbender’ which deserved to die a horrible, painful death.
    And we would definitely pay to see Scott Pilgrim again.

  30. Karen says:

    I agree that Universal didn’t market it well.

    I’ve not been a huge fan of the GNs, but when I saw the trailer posted I knew I would go to the film. Call me a sucker for Edgar Wright, but it just looked awesome.

    Then I saw the television ads, most of which were a context-free snippet of the fight between Cera and Chris Evans. And I couldn’t even figure out what they were saying, much less tell what the film was supposed to be like. It was possibly the worst tv ad campaign I have ever, ever seen. I could not begin to imagine who would want to see the film in that ad, except for people who were already Scott Pilgrim fans.

    That said, I agree with @pulphope: it cracked the top 5, even with that limp ad campaign. Will it be a first weekend wonder or will it build on word of mouth like, say, The Sixth Sense? That no one can say yet. It just seems early for post-mortems.

  31. Christian says:

    Sorry, but Piranha 3D would have still wiped the floor with Scott Pilgrim.

    If anything, I’d put it on the very last weekend of August against Takers (with virtually no shared demo) and Centurion (which I had never even HEARD of before I just looked it up).

    But hey, coulda woulda shoulda.

  32. michael says:

    everyone, except for the big two just seem to be going for the big money, asap. No one wants ‘lower’ development first (cartoons, tv, etc), and I think sometimes, the money grab is just too fast to acclimate people to their comic book world.

  33. Rich Johnson says:

    The fact that the movie came from an indie comic only matters to those in the comic book and movie industry. I would take a guess that the majority of the people who saw the commercials for the movie had no idea it was based on a comic at all. So the decision for people to see it was based in what they saw in the previews and commercials. Regardless of the source material it’s a quirky premise with a quirky actor. It was marketed as a blockbuster and it really isn’t. They should have released it select cities and built word of mouth.

  34. Kate Willaert says:

    I don’t watch TV anymore, so I don’t know how much the tone of the commercials may’ve hurt or not helped it (I’ve seen the two trailers…the one that starts out like an average Micheal Cera movie before veering off in another direction made me want to see it…the later, more generic trailer would’ve made me skeptical if I’d seen that one first).

    But personally, everyone my age (20-somethings) who I’ve tried to convince to go see it, almost always responded with “but I can’t stand that actor.” No matter how I tried to pitch it to them, even if they’ve enjoyed comic movies, and play video games, and have nostalgia for 8-bit games…it’s all outweighed apparently by not wanting to spend money on an expensive movie ticket to see something that stars that actor.

    I don’t personally have a problem watching movies starring Michael Cera, but judging from the reactions I’ve gotten I’d say casting him was probably their #1 mistake if they wanted 20-somethings to see it in the theater.

  35. Dave Elliott says:

    I loved the movie, saw it and Expendables on the same day. Can’t say I could see where the $60 million went unless they’re including advertising. Will watch again and buy the DVD much like I did with Kick-Ass. Heard lots of people talking about how much they liked it and the audience was really into it. Theater was packed at the showing.

    I’ll see Expendables again as well…

  36. Chris Knowles says:

    How is The Expendables not a comic book movie itself? That how critics regarded the movies all of those guys starred in in the 80s. It’s basically a superhero movie without costumes. Scott Pilgrim is a niche property and not the kind of thing the average moviegoer associates with comic books. Most adults probably think it’s based on some show on Nickelodeon or the Cartoon Network.

  37. I just saw it today. Despite the fact the main characters are horrible people and it almost became tedious (thank god there were twins) it was a good movie. It just felt like an October movie in august. I think that it’s based on a GN had absolutely no bearing on how well it did. I just think it got lost in shuffle of a stacked weekend.

  38. Also I think the opening weekend is a more ominous sign for Cera than the viability of independent GNs as marketable IP.
    People probably said “Shit! I ain’t seeing another Micheal Cera movie!” rather damn “Eff that movie! It’s based on an unknown Graphic Novel!”

  39. Who the hell spends 60 million on a comic book movie that isn’t about one of the big guys? Or doesn’t star Will Smith?

    This is a property that probably could’ve made a nice little profit had someone thought long and hard about the money being spent to make and market it.

    The real story here is the fact that studios continue to bet big and continue to lose in their quest to hit a homerun everytime out or hope that one hit movie will make up for all the losses.

  40. I certainly stick with the Speed Racer comparison – it may not have been wise for them to spend all those millions on making it, but they certainly earned my $7.50. If they’re going to blow money on projects, I’d rather it was those than other films.

    And it’s already grossed more in its first weekend than the previous Big Two Universe film, Jonah Hex, made in its entire run.

  41. Lowen J says:

    I would go see this manga film Scot Pilgrim, Most Excellent Boy, but watching right to left is confusing to me.

  42. Saw it and thought it was cute creative fun. wish the main character was someone I cared about…that was the weakness of the film to me.

    I havent heard anyone I know even talking about this film anywhere but here…just people that saw it ahead of time and saw it for free. They all said it was cute fun as well. outside of comics, the kids on the block here didnt know it was a “comic movie” at all.

    we saw it sat. night and there were only teens in the theatre…and it was mostly full. I think they[ studios] were expecting way too much attention for the film.

    the lead star turned off most of the people I know that saw it. the casting otherwise was a blast!

  43. “the SCOTT PILGRIM cast flitted onto the stage like tiny, adorable fairies, led by their very own Oberon, Edgar Wright”

    awesome.

  44. Overall though, if you didnt see it…go check it out. some fun stuff. can say the same for the Expendables…was silly fun.

  45. Kate Willaert says:

    Y’never know…Fight Club was made for $63 million, and only made $11 million on opening weekend. I think most of us didn’t see that one until it was on DVD.

  46. Mikael says:

    Couple of things:

    – Yes, SP had numerous advance free screenings. So does a lot of movies. It’s a common practice – this one was just more widely publicized since comic shops specifically were targeted. In other words – it’s nothing new.

    – SP did not show on as many screens as other movies did this weekend. That’s just a fact. You can’t make money if the exposure isn’t as great.

    – To the comment of “Haters are dissing the “fanboys” when the truth is that most middle-aged comics fans were already ambivalent or hostile to the comics indie vibe. SCOTT PILGRIM was never for superhero geeks.”. -sigh- Once again stereotypes are trotted out. False stereotyping with no research and nothing to back it up. Do your research before making such a comment please. Because I know tons of “middle-aged” comic readers who read and support comics from ALL publishers and who love Scott Pilgrim. Did you ask O’Malley if SP wasn’t for super-hero geeks? Because if you’re assuming that, YOU are marginalizing the work, not super-hero geeks.

  47. Ron Thibodeau says:

    “We asked a few of our Hollywood pals for some insights and they pointed out that the simple fact is that SCOTT PILGRIM should never have opened up against the ’80s icons Depends-fest THE EXPENDABLES.”

    Did the ‘Hollywood pals’ explain why the film didn’t just fall behind the ’80s icons Depends-fest’, but a Julia Roberts ‘chick flick’, and two films that had been out for a couple weeks?

    Scott Pilgrim may have defeated the 7 evil exes, but not even he was powerful enough to defeat Leonardo DiCaprio in a movie that has been out for 5 weeks??!!

    That’s a tough one to explain away, I think.

  48. To the outsiders this was a $60 million Michael Cera movie. What did you expect the box office to be?

  49. This movie was made for 60 Million because studios don’t make middle-range budget movies anymore. It’s either 3 Million or 60, or 200 (like this Battleship movie). Nothing in between. That’s going to make it hard for a lot of movies to be successful.
    Check out the budgets here: http://boxofficemojo.com/weekend/chart/
    Even Eat Pray Love cost 60 Million! The Other Guys cost 100 Million!

  50. Stu Harris says:

    The key is to see how the box office is next weekend and how much of a drop.

  51. Ron Thibodeau, there’s likely some but not a lot of cross over between Eat, Pray, Love and Scott Pilgrim. However, there’s a pretty big cross over between Scott Pilgrim and the Expendables. Basically any movie that uses SDCC to promote their movie, shouldn’t open against each other without one movie cannibalizing the other’s audience.

    Also as someone else pointed out in the other Scott Pilgrim thread, unless there were an extra $10 million worth of free screenings, then it didn’t affect it’s opening weekend much. All major movies have lots of screenings where movie critics are invited and free tickets are given away to fill the extra seats to promote the movie. The only difference with Scott Pilgrim compared to most movies is Universal targeted comic book shops to give away free tickets, so a lot of core fans got to see it early.

  52. Also note Edgar Wright’s response to the box office on Twitter:
    http://twitter.com/edgarwright/status/21327038603
    “For the record, am pretty damn happy to have a Top 5 movie and a top 5 album in the US. Never had either before.”
    The album he’s referring to being the Scott Pilgrim soundtrack which at one point I think was #4 on iTunes. It’s an amazing soundtrack and so is the movie score. Apparently Beck wrote around 20 songs for Sex Bob-Omb, and I really hope he puts out an album with the rest of the songs, as they are really great trashy rock.

  53. Sean Tulien says:

    I love you for writing this. Nailed it, I think, and while it has been a lot of fun to read the out-of-touch reviews by critics trying to justify their dislike of the film, it’s good to see a relaxed, intelligent take on why the movie is a box office bomb and what Universal did wrong.

    It’s a shame, really, because there are those of us who really treasure this film. Edgar Wright is 3/3 in major releases as far as I’m concerned.

  54. Brett says:

    Interesting article from New York Magazine about why Scott Pilgrim didn’t perform, despite being a winner at Comic-Con. Also, check the comments by non-comic readers: most of them cite Michael Cera as the reason for disinterest.

    http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2010/08/your_box_office_explained_the_1.html

  55. I think Cera was a good choice for exactly the same reason Ledger was the great choice: he was different from the comics version. The fact that he was so nebbishly obnoxious in the first quarter (he is a cartoon) made it much crazier when he started fighting the bosses. He did level up. My little sister saw it with me (Comics XP: 0) and the whole beginning whenever he was on screen she started air-flicking the screen in disgust. But at the end, she loved the movie, was Kim Pine’s No. 1 Fan, and has since devoured up to book 5 in about 2 days.
    Her text to me yesterday: COMIX WHERE HAVE U BEEN ALL MY LIFE?

    Unless any of us are in the film industry or are part of Cera’s representation team, what is the significance of this box office vocabulary anyway? Universal should do a commercial claiming SP the “No. 1 Movie With Pixellated Hammers This Week.”

  56. They should have held off with The Expendables coming out. That was a huge macho-fest that even if the movie was horrible, people were going to go see it. Plus it didn’t help that movie theaters didn’t even hold much hope for Scott Pilgram. The big theater here had it on opening weekend, way down the hall in the theater rooms where movies are showing it’s last week before going to video.

    Maybe it’ll gain steam over the coming weekend. I do hope it at elasts makes the money back. It’s fairly loyal to the source material and if it bombs, Hollywood will keep thinking the idea of changing source material is the only way to go.

  57. It’s pretty obvious that most people went to see familiar big name actors who embodied a certain ideal (Stallone’s crew, Roberts and Dicaprio). it will take time for him to get the average movie goer’s attention, just like the geek he often portrays- he’ll have to win them over but it will take time. The box office weekend audiences will always choose Hollywood’s homecoming king and queens over the awkward quirky kid who hangs out at the art room.

  58. I think it’s a shame that it didn’t make more money in the opening weekend but I don’t think it’s a cause for a massive war among the supporters.

    I made my wife come with me and she enjoyed it more than she thought she would. But the response I got from everyone else when I said, “you should go see Scott Pilgrim,” was “What’s it about?” For a comic/movie with such a great high concept of “guy has to fight his new girlfriend’s seven evil ex-es” Universal didn’t make that clear in the ads.

  59. Chris Hero says:

    I’m also amazed at how many people “expected” this to open poorly.

    In my opinion, this movie was made for older geeks. All the video game references are from the 8-bit and 16-bit eras, which were at least 15 years ago. If you’re under 35, you’re probably not getting all the references and if you do, they must seem antiquated.

    Ii think the whole “too cool for the room” vibe put off a lot of people. That, and the deification of the source material by the fans.

  60. I’m seriously not getting all the Michael Cera hate. Remember how hilariously awesome he was in “Arrested Development” and “Superbad”? Since those projects, did he murder and drink the blood of every cute puppy in America? Did he date, take advantage of, and then dump all of our younger sisters?

    It will all be okay in time, though, thanks to America’s short-term memory. All this Stallone nostalgia seems to ignore the stench of “Over the Top,” “Cobra,” “Rambo III,” “Rocky V,” “Tango & Cash,” “Stop or My Mom Will Shoot,” “Judge Dredd,” and “Driven.” So, in about 20 years, when they remake “The Expendables” with Michael Cera, we’ll all be blogging about how we can’t wait to see another great Cera action flick instead of that annoying Suri Cruise.

  61. Kate Willaert says:

    Under 35? I’m 27 and grew up with the NES and Genesis, and my youngest brother is 22 and grew up with the SNES and then backtracked. You have to remember that not just teenagers played those systems when they were new, kids did as well.

  62. And the internal debate continues on, with Scott Pilgrim having the smallest drop from Sunday to Monday than any other movie in the top ten. A 45% drop compared to 59% for the Expendables and 54% for Pray, Eat, Love. So there might be something to the idea that Scott Pilgrim is having good word of mouth.

    Meanwhile it’s still the #1 trending topic Twitter, as people keep talking about the movie.

  63. Charles Knight says:

    “And the internal debate continues on, with Scott Pilgrim having the smallest drop from Sunday to Monday than any other movie in the top ten. A 45% drop compared to 59% for the Expendables and 54% for Pray, Eat, Love. So there might be something to the idea that Scott Pilgrim is having good word of mouth.”

    That’s after a massive drop-off over the weekend, so you are dealing with much smaller numbers and that impacts the percentages.

    It’s doing $520 per screen, that is the sorts of numbers it should be doing after a couple of weeks. Taken the drop-offs as a whole, there is no evidence that word of mouth, twitter or the Lord Jesus Christ will save this film.

  64. It was successful because it was good. Simple as that…

  65. Abhay says:

    “Remember how hilariously awesome he was in “Arrested Development” and “Superbad”?”

    I thought he was funny in Youth In Revolt, too. Hollywood keeps limiting his comic persona as “virginal pipsqueak”, though. I think in the Clark & Michael web-series and things like that– his “viral” videos, he usually aims for a different persona for himself, like “unbelievably arrogant, baby-faced jerk.” I like that stuff more, but none of the movies he’s been in have really taken good advantage of that part of his act, except maybe limited parts of Youth in Revolt.

  66. Dave Hackett says:

    @Chris Hero, I think you nailed it with this:

    “I think the whole “too cool for the room” vibe put off a lot of people. That, and the deification of the source material by the fans.”

    I was actually interested in seeing it until it was relentlessly hyped both officially and by the continuous chatter stating this would be the best thing ever, sight unseen, by most internet sites I frequent. By the time I saw the Hilton Bayfront transformed into a billboard for the movie at Comic-Con I was already sick and tired of Scott Pilgrim. Fairly or not, over zealousness really put a damper on this one for me.

  67. Heidi M. says:

    >>>It’s doing $520 per screen, that is the sorts of numbers it should be doing after a couple of weeks. Taken the drop-offs as a whole, there is no evidence that word of mouth, twitter or the Lord Jesus Christ will save this film.

    This film does not need to be “saved” — it’s been well reviewed, widely hailed as innovative and very much enjoyed by its target audience. It will do well on DVD and Blu-Ray and eventually become the cult film it was always intended to be.

    I think we’ve gone as far as we can go here.

  68. CrispyCritters says:

    I think the internet still has yet to realise it represents a small portion of the general population.

    That being, SP represents an even smaller portion of that tiny percentage.

    People also need to understand that Comic-Con, and its related memes, itself is a niche market and that good word of mouth for 5% of the population is still only going to affect 5% of the population.

    Mythbusters proved we can in fact polish a turd, but sometimes, one must wonder why we keep trying.

  69. Charles Knight says:

    “This film does not need to be “saved” — it’s been well reviewed, widely hailed as innovative and very much enjoyed by its target audience. ”

    That isn’t what we were discussing, so I’m not sure why you feel the need to make that comment.

  70. The Beat says:

    CK: Your phraseology suggest that box office success is the be all and end all of success. Blade Runner and Fight Club were flops when they were released. Raging Bull did so badly that Martin Scorsese worried that his career was over. Ditto Billy Wilder and Ace in the Hole.

    The Scott Pilgrim movie is a success on its own terms. But not on Universal marketing’s terms.

  71. Army of Dorkness says:

    “Year One” backlash. Hated that movie. Cera is almost perfectly cast as Scott Pilgrim because Scott as a character is supposed to be as annoying and unsympathetic as Michael Cera seems to be for a lot of people.

    Napoleon Dynamite Effect, Napoleon Dynamite Effect… if you say it three times, it might happen. Who’s with me?

  72. Tom Spurgeon says:

    Ace In The Hole! Awesome.

  73. Army of Dorkness says:

    Crap. Not a good sign… Vampires Suck made on a Wednesday almost what Scott Pilgrim made on a Friday.

    That’s so sad. Oh well.

  74. Drew Hart says:

    I have never read any volume of “Scott Pilgrim,” but based on the trailers, I was very much in anticipation of seeing this movie for quite some time.

    Old dude/family committments meant that I could not do that until today. Wow. Loved it! It was like the Bizarro “Wonder Years.”

    Thoroughly enjoyed it, hope to get to see it again next week, will be looking for the soundtrack and will definitely buy the DVD when it comes out. Will also end up picking up the books at some point as well.

    Hate for everyone involved that it’s been a box office disappointment thus far, but with what ended up on screen, they have *NOTHING* to be ashamed of. I had a smile on my face from start to finish because of the story, performances, special effects, and just the “attitude” of the whole thing. Job well done!

  75. ~chris says:

    A 50-year old friend who does not read comics, but enjoys indie movies, told me that he sawScott Pilgrim vs. the World and really liked it. We discussed the likely possibility that since I had read the books, my expectations were too high.

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