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SCOTT PILGRIM vs The Box Office


It’s looking like SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD will come in at a disappointing #4 at this weekend’s box office, according to Nikki Finke, behind THE EXPENDABLES, EAT PRAY LOVE, and the returning THE OTHER GUYS. SPvsTW made an estimated $4.7 million on Friday for an $11 million opening. There’s a lot of analysis and ranting in the comments, which are deserving of further investigation.

The underperformance comes as a surprise to no one we spoke with, and doesn’t change the fact that the movie is charming, funny, and wonderful and will probably remain a popular cult film.


  1. I think one of the bigger problems with its opening weekend was the deluge of advance screenings. I don’t know about other cities, but here in Toronto everyone I know saw it for free at advance screenings (I got so many passes it was almost silly).

    I think they basically took the core audience, who would have paid to see it, and let them all see it for free.

    Not a sound business strategy.

  2. Also it was up against the fiercest opening day competition I’ve seen in a very long time, with uber-guy movie The Expendables and Oprah’s crowd film Eat, Pray, Love. That it landed behind the Other Guys is the only thing that’s really disappointing about this.

  3. It’s great that this movie even got made but I had hoped it would have done better. I imagine it will be a bigger success of DVD. Yeah, there were a lot of preview screenings with tickets given away at comic book stores, so that a lot of it’s core audience saw it for free, but the idea of that would be good word of mouth would carry the movie for a better opening weekend.

    It was also a mistake to put it up against the Expendables, which a good chunk of Scott Pilgrim’s audience is going to see.

    The other unfortunately side effect is that I think people will now bring up Scott Pilgrim as example of why SDCC is not as important as many think for movie promotion. Scott Pilgrim ruled at last years SDCC, but that buzz didn’t seem to do much for the movie.

    Also Scott Pilgrim is the #1 Twitter topic right now and has been up there a number of times through out this past week. Giving more of a spotlight that to the fact that the Twitter audience does not represent the mainstream.

  4. To the average movie-goer with no knowledge of the source material, this is just another Michael Cera movie… I’m not trying to knock Cera per se but he’s a very polarizing actor. He seems to fall in between the cracks of every single target audience.

    Let’s hope this dissuades movie execs from using SDCC as a whorehouse in the future…one can hope right?

  5. I just hate how over the past 30 years, movie success is judged by opening weekend box office numbers, instead of a steady build up due to good reviews and word of mouth, over several weeks.

  6. @ David: You are right to some extent but opening weekend is a pretty reliable indicator for the future success of a film stateside. How well it does overseas is another story. Scott Pilgrim could find huge support in Japan methinks.

  7. Actually, weekend box office returns often do not always track on par with Friday’s take alone, due to the high anticipation factor among hardcore aficionados of genre fare on the first day. For example, Dinner for Schmucks actually beat Inception on its opening day, before settling back down to second place results on Saturday and Sunday of its opening weekend. It’ll be a couple of days yet before anyone can get a better idea of which new movies will develop sea legs for the long haul.

  8. I saw it yesterday, wasn’t totally blown out by it, but probably will see it again.

    Here are some issues I had:


    Cera. Not really Scott Pilgrim as presented in the books at all, just happens to be the one established star close to the role, which isn’t close enough. Effective as a hopeless nerd who can bust out chop-socky moves, but that’s a very exaggerated Hollywoody view of the character to me.

    Gideon Graves doesn’t show up until near the end, and we’re given no reason to believe Scott couldn’t make short work of him when he’s beaten up a shit-ton of tougher-looking people already. He’s someone you want Scott to “kill,” but not built up into the worthy adversary he needs to be.

    The end, in which Knives Chau inexplicably tells Scott he needs to go be with Ramona. I read this was a tacked-on reshot ending, and it shows, and it just screams bullshit.

  9. It’s ONE day. I expected this film to perform about as well as Kick Ass. By the end of its run, it might do exactly that. I am disappointed by the first day numbers, but they don’t spell doom just yet.

    Also, I find it a little bit annoying that the comedy films I most wanted to see were all pushed toward the end of summer. I only just recently watched Grown Ups, and never got around to seeing Get Him to the Greek. Scott Pilgrim is a comedy, and I’m kinda tired of comedy so The Expendables is a big temptation right now. I just happen to be more interested in Scott Pilgrim, and luckily it has some action in it too.

    Scott Pilgrim is a hard sell. Word of mouth is going to make it or break it. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

  10. Younger son and I saw Scott Pilgrim yesterday, after school. It was a lot of fun, and the audience in the theater laughed and exclaimed at all the right parts. We saw young couples, a group of middle-aged women, several groups of 20-something men. My 15-year-old was the youngest one in the audience. The problem with so many movies coming out this week for my town is that school started on Wednesday, from preschool through our community college. And this weekend is the big tax-free back-to-school shopping weekend. Lots of distractions that cut down on movie attendance.

  11. I just hate how over the past 30 years, movie success is judged by opening weekend box office numbers, instead of a steady build up due to good reviews and word of mouth, over several weeks.

    Studios that want to generate good publicity prior to a wide release do so by screenings at selected cities, a PR campaign, etc. I believe it’s rare for a movie to gross more in its second or “n” weekend than in its first. SCOTT PILGRIM opened on 2,818 screens. That number is going to go down, not up.

    The percentage decline from the first weekend will probably be sharper for SCOTT PILGRIM than for a general interest movie. Those who want to see it will do so quickly and not wait a week or two.


  12. Saw it in an almost empty theater at 11am Friday. Had tons o’fun; this is one I definitely will want to buy the extended DVD/BluRay of.

    The matinee cost us $19 @ $9.50ea. If ticket prices were cut in half, would all 4 top draw films have had twice the audience? In other words, the question re pricing maybe shouldn’t be how much customers will spend per film, but how much they are willing to spend per year & then cut prices so they can average at least one movie a week.

  13. I enjoyed the movie for the most part, but the finale seemed to go on for an eternity and really tried my patience. I think between the scenes with Routh and the “Twins” they pretty much shot their wad and the movie had nothing more to offer when it got to the end.
    I thought it was a good sign that my wife, who hates all things comics, enjoyed it.

    The mainstream reviews I’ve seen so far haven’t been kind. One critic said it represented the worst of “fanboy culture”. Another said it suffered from not having a single likable character in the film and went on to compare it to the Speed Racer movie.

    I think the success story here is that the film got made at all and saw the inside of a theater before going straight to dvd. The comic readers I’ve talked to aren’t very familiar with SP to begin with, let alone fans. I think the studios still wrongly assume that every comic book reader will go see every comic book related movie. It seems like it was already handicaped by only appealing to a niche within a niche.

    But the weekend isn’t over yet and The Expendables isn’t getting very good reviews either.

  14. Ms. CEO and I were the oldest folks (54) at our nearly sold-out screening in SA, surrounded by teens and 20-somethings.

    Just to clarify, of the major movies opening this weekend, SP has earned the highest ratings on Rotten Tomatoes (79 percent), and I haven’t read a bad review of it yet, apart from the snippets on RT.

    We liked the movie lots. For me, SP was in the cheeky vein of Kick-Ass, a smart movie that turns the widely held perception of comics on its ass to great effect.

    That said, Michael Cera was miscast as was the mopey Mary Winstead. It was their journey through the 7 Xs that made the film worth watching for me the first time.

    And I agree that the ending looked like it had been reshot, even though Cera had far more chemistry with Ellen Wong than Winstead. It just wasn’t even close…

  15. I haven’t seen the movie yet but I agree with Heidi. SP may not break any box office records but I have no doubt it will do well on dvd as a cult film.

    Kick Ass didn’t set the box office on fire either yet they say its #1 in dvd sales and downloads this week. Zero interest in it on my part but it has found a wider audience in the film afterlife of DVD.

    That said, none of my close friends (those outside the comic box) wanted to see Scott Pilgrim because no one of them had a clue what it was about, this even with the viral marketing campaign.

    We went to see The Expendables and it was fun, wild ride of a flick.

    PS. I think one of the reasons why a films don’t have a longer life on the screens to find an audience ala ‘The Old Days’ is because with the advent of dvd, films today don’t require the big screen of a theatre to build its audience; not when you have a big HD screen right in the comfort of your own home.

  16. Guess geek isn’t mainstream, boys and girls. There have been a string of comic book movie failures now – Losers, Jonah Hex, and now Scott Pilgrim. Eventually, the bloom will fall off the superhero rose, too, and those will stop being made as well.

  17. I agree with Alex regarding the early screenings. Many of my friends (who are fans of the graphic novels) already saw the movie before the flick came out and paid nothing for it.

    It’s a shame the movie will probably be outperformed by Expendables and Eat Pray Love since it is, in my opinion, a much better experience and is probably one of the best comic adaptations we’ve seen yet.

  18. I definitely think all of the advance screenings hurt the box office – one of two multiplexes in our little city of Springfield, MO even had an advance screening on Thursday night. When a out-of-the-way town like this, which probably wouldn’t have done a lot to bolster the box office in the first place, is getting previews they’re shooting themselves in the foot.

    My wife and I saw it today at an 11 a.m. showing (I could have gone to the free showing but wanted to help the weekend box office) and we were one of -maybe- ten people in the entire theater. However, we LOVED it and I’m convinced it will live on in cult film status for years to come.

    Look at The Nightmare Before Christmas – reception for it was pretty cool when it first came out, and it was seen as a niche film. Half of my friends who saw it with me on opening night thought it was awful. But it’s still making money to this day on merchandising and special editions.

    Edgar Wright and company should be feeling absolutely no shame.

  19. “Yeah, there were a lot of preview screenings with tickets given away at comic book stores, so that a lot of it’s core audience saw it for free, but the idea of that would be good word of mouth would carry the movie for a better opening weekend.”

    I think we’re underestimating the BACKLASH that overly enthusiastic word-of-mouth from the wrong people (IE. those of us in fandom) can generate among everyone else. How many people became LESS likely to see “Serenity” BECAUSE so many Joss Whedon “browncoats” talked it up like it was the Second Coming? If the positive buzz for a given movie has too much of an insular vibe (“Either you’ll think this is the greatest thing ever, or else you have no taste or heart or soul!”), it’s going to drive people AWAY. Hell, all those Scott Pilgrim trailers that fandom loved were cited by several of my friends as reason why they wouldn’t be seeing the movie.

  20. I think the people lamenting all the free screenings might not be very familiar with how many pictures get a similar number of free screenings. Maybe they should have tried harder to get the passes to more mainstream movie-goers, but the number of free screenings aren’t the difference between it finishing 4th or 5th instead of in the top 3.

  21. @K-Box:

    Yes!! All the overly enthusiastic fanboy support *really* soured me. I went from wanting to see the movie, even though I hated the books, to being repulsed by the commercials.

    BTW – The book audience is also super annoying. God forbid someone not like the books because then the fans crucify them. So it leads to a situation where I have to go into detail on why I didn’t like the books, which makes it look like I’m trashing them, and it puts everyone on the defensive. Enthusiastic fandom can really do more harm than good.

  22. There’s been a creepy amount of bitter older nerd revelling at the percieved lack of success of this film. To the point where it seems some folks have more invested in it’s percieved failure than anyone actually involved in the film had in it’s success.

  23. “There’s been a creepy amount of bitter older nerd reveling at the perceived lack of success of this film.”

    I don’t think it’s older ‘nerd vs. younger nerd’ so much as ‘nerd vs. hipster’ — and in that ‘Civil War’, I’m with Iron Man (2).

    Personally, I hit my saturation point with Scott Pilgrim circa the release of 2nd or 3rd OGN. The almost psychotic boosterism from the comics blogosphere (most of whom were my age or older) gave me a serious case of hype fatigue.

    Said fatigue had almost worn off (to the point where I considering checking the movie out, thinking that a film adaption would likely be leaner, less self-indulgent, and maybe even a little less obviously pleased with itself than the source material had proven to be) when the latest tidal wave of hipster evangelizing (this time with added Hollywood BS!) kicked off.

    That was it for me. I saw The Girl Who Played With Fire this week, will probably catch The Expendables next week, and plan to catch Scott Pilgrim sometime around the 5th of Never.

  24. I think the main problem was that they spent 60 million dollars on it, that is a lot of money for a movie like that, i would have guessed it was half that based on the trailer.

    I have never read the comic, the few pages i have seen have been enough to know its not for me, and the trailer makes me feel the same way, i would rather watch The Expendables

  25. Honestly, this film came out a week late too. Interest peaked a week ago, and most people were surprised it wasn’t out yet.

  26. Huh. Yeah. I already saw it twice for free. Going to see it again today with friends at a regular showing.

    Funny I also saw Expendables, but I didn’t think it was really much save for the cast. Yet even there it was far from their best film. You know if they were even in the film for more than five minutes. Blink and you miss Ahnold and Willis in small cameos. Roarke is barely more than them.

    Now, I noticed something. Looking at times to go see the film with friends today. I notice Scott Pilgrim only has half the damn showing times of Expendables, Eat Pray Love, or even Last Week’s The Other Guys. So even if it’s in just as many theaters, the showings could be only half. Thus there’s no way in hell it can make as much money with such fewer screens showing it. Who and what the hell determines how many showings / screens these show on at these theaters? Isn’t that really the deal breaker no one talks about? Who are the people herding us to some films over others due to show times per day?

    Damn… A black van is gonna pick me up on the way to theater and I’m never gonna be heard from again, aren’t I?

  27. I loved the movie. Its been a while since I laughed out loud in a theater. The best part was everyone in the theater laughed out loud at one point or another.

  28. I just never got into the books. I wanted to like it, but it was just too weird. I was shocked that it was made into a movie. It’s definitely a cult flick.

  29. I think K-Box has the right of it. The comparison for Scott Pilgrim is Serenity, not Jonah Hex or The Losers. By the time Serenity hit theaters, I was already done with Serenity; I was thoroughly sick of it thanks to the whole pre-release hypery. Scott Pilgrim was much the same; yes, it was a “perfect storm,” with the final book and the movie hitting at roughly the same time, but thanks to overload I began to tune Pilgrim out.

    Comparing Pilgrim to The Losers or Jonah Hex doesn’t make senseJonah Hex didn’t have the massive pre-release hype, there was no sense that this film would remake the world. They’re simply very different films marketed in very different ways.

    I expect that Scott Pilgrim will, like Serenity, have a disappointing box office haul (50 million domestic max), but it will have a strong life on DVD among those who really “get” it.

  30. Tom Spurgeon, the box office isn’t going to change how much I loved the movie, will buy it on DVD and will watch many times in the future. However, I want more indie comics to get this kind of treatment. I want Edgar Wright to get great budgets for his movies, with solid support from the studios. I want Hollywood not to be afraid of making a movie in Toronto as Toronto instead disguising the city as some US city. Plus many other great things in this movie that I would like to see in other movies, but won’t happen if this movie is a financial failure. Instead producers will point to this as an example not to do these things and more.

  31. “Guess geek isn’t mainstream, boys and girls. There have been a string of comic book movie failures now – Losers, Jonah Hex, and now Scott Pilgrim. Eventually, the bloom will fall off the superhero rose, too, and those will stop being made as well.”

    Nice overgeneralization, but this doesn’t really explain anything beyond your apathy.

    The fact of the matter is that Universal as a studio has only had one bonafide box office hit this year, and that was Despicable Me. Before that, you would probably have to go back quite a ways before you would find another one that had resonated with a wide audience. Scott Pilgrim as a movie was always destined to be a cult sensation, and it’ll more likely find its true audience on DVD.

  32. “Look at The Nightmare Before Christmas – reception for it was pretty cool when it first came out, and it was seen as a niche film. Half of my friends who saw it with me on opening night thought it was awful. But it’s still making money to this day on merchandising and special editions.”

    You can’t really compare movies to Nightmare Before Christmas. That movie had the backing of the Disney company behind it with their massive marketing resources. It also took years before audiences discovered it.

    Scott Pilgrim simply did not appeal to a mainstream audience. I could not get my wife to go see it and she’ll see most comic movies with me. The visuals are reminisce of another flop, Speed Racer. I don’t feel the audience wants to see live action agains an animated backdrop.

  33. I also think it’s funny people who really wanted it to be a hit and are realizing it is a flop, are now calling it a “cult” movie.

    Sorry, but I don’t think that will happen either. It will be enjoyed by a very, very small group but will ultimately be considered a flop.

    Very few movies are true cult hits. This will most likely not be one of them.

  34. The Wall Street Journal just posted:

    “The Expendables” topped the weekend box office. The Universal film, directed, co-written and starring Sylvester Stallone, with an ensemble cast that includes Bruce Willis, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li and other action stars, earned $35 million.

    “Eat, Pray, Love,” the film adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling memoir, placed second. ”Eat” (Sony), which stars Julia Roberts, brought in $23.7 million.

    The Will Ferrel buddy cop movie, “The Other Guys” (Sony/Columbia), placed third with $18 million. That performance was enough to bring the film’s domestic total to over $70 million. “Inception” (Warner Bros.)placed fourth with $11 million (the film is closing in on $300 million), while Universal’s “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” placed a disappointing fifth in its opening weekend with a total of $10.5 million.

    “There was just too much testosterone in the marketplace this weekend,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box-office division of Hollywood.com, explaining “Pilgrim’s” weak performance. “With the ‘Expendables,’ ‘The Other Guys’ and ‘Iception’ all vying for the male demographic, poor Scott Pilgrim had a tough time getting noticed.”

    I find this funny. Scott Pilgrim was very noticed by the public. You couldn’t escape the marketing. People just weren’t interested.

  35. Unless Universal gave out $10M worth of free passes, the advance screenings are not what held this film back in fifth place.

    Its failure has nothing to do with it being based on a comic book, or that the comic book was not well known. It has to do with what people want right now. They want comforting old stars whose best-known characters were the crowd-pleasing protagonists in rags-to-riches fairy tales. They want the cinematic equivalent of a tub of Cherry Garcia for the ladies and a case of Bud for the guys. They want brainless, exotic escapes from the gathering gloom over the lack of economic recovery.

    They do not want to watch entitled twenty-something hipsters battling over a girl with pink hair, no matter how clever the script or inventive the cinematography, and even if there are katanas involved. The “vs. The World” adds a bit of obnoxious hyperbole to the whole premise that would push exactly the wrong “Shit My Dad Says”-“Are you shitting me?! I’m about to lose my house!” button. Scott Pilgrim sure as hell ain’t Middle America right now.

    I think the film came out two years too late. Before things collapsed, people had more smiling patience for silly things, including hipsters. I don’t think it would have been a smash, but it could have done better. But now, many people would pay to see Sylvester Stallone AND Julia Roberts punch Michael Cera in the face.

    I’ll probably see it just because I trust Edgar Wright implicitly, in spite of my own reservations about the material and the cast. I’ll wait a week and see it at the discount theater.

  36. Hope for the Napoleon Dynamite effect. Napoleon’s highest grossing week was less than $4million (13th week in release) yet it went on to gross $44million. Word of mouth made that film. Repeat viewings made that film. Can Scott Pilgrim do it? I don’t know.

    If Vampires Suck outgrosses Scott Pilgrim, that’s going to be a real tragedy. Oh the bright side, there are a lot of higher profile bombs than Scott Pilgrim–Jonah Hex, Knight and Day, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, A-Team, Killers, Sex and the City 2, and Prince of Persia. It’s been a strange summer for film.

  37. Scott Pilgrim was marketed as “something different”. People don’t want “something different”; they want movies that fit neatly into known genres.

    And, yes, everyone was sick of hearing about it, even before it was released.

  38. “Very few movies are true cult hits.”

    That’s actually untrue. There are several volumes of film guides over the years that point out the exact opposite with films that are inherently quirky. Usually it’s the pre-programmed formula fare that never develops beyond its predictability of ‘initial theater run, then two months on DVD, then bargain bin’.

    “This will most likely not be one of them.”

    Uh-huh…just like Shawn of the Dead and Hot Fuzz never developed cult followings either. You know, when in doubt, one should check out the dirctor’s oeuvre for the reality check instead of just spitballing.

  39. “Its failure has nothing to do with it being based on a comic book, or that the comic book was not well known. It has to do with what people want right now. They want comforting old stars whose best-known characters were the crowd-pleasing protagonists in rags-to-riches fairy tales. They want the cinematic equivalent of a tub of Cherry Garcia for the ladies and a case of Bud for the guys.”

    This summary is pretty much on target. These days, people who go to the cinema simply aren’t looking for movies beyond their comfort zones. Even the similarly-overhyped Inception was a ‘comfort food’ movie, since nearly everyone recognized the film’s director and its headlining star from previous blockbusters. One reason why is that it’s become way too expensive to be taking a chance at the cinema anymore.

  40. This old (47) nerd loved loved LOVED the OGN series, and really liked the movie. The two things that kept me from loving the movie were the ending (with Romona & Knives) and the jettison of character development in order to fit six graphic novels into one movie. I wasn’t a fan of the main romance in the books, but I loved the supporting characters and the humor. With the film, I wasn’t a fan of the main romance, and I loved the supporting characters (esp. Wallace & Julie) and the humor. But many supporting characters’ time was cut short or cut out altogether. My favorite character in the books, Kim Pine, was reduced to a one-note (sardonic) character, though I did love how she played that note. Envy was also reduced to a one-note. Another favorite, Lynette Guycott, was barely even there. Other characters were cut out completely (esp. Lisa Miller & Knive’s father).

    I’ll still be buying the DVD and watching it many many times. Because I really liked the movie.

    Aside to Tom Spurgeon: Oh, ho, ho, irony! Oh, no, no, we don’t get that here.

  41. Lulz, KET. “Scott Pilgrim” was nothing but comfort zone entertainment for a certain niche. Let’s not go forgetting that.

    It was every bit as stylized and visually exciting as any of the other bigger blockbusters. That’s what Wright excelled at. So don’t go taking that away from him while looking for a pithy excuse as to why “Everyone sucks and nobody understands me” defense for why this movie tanked.

    It tanked because, aside from the interesting visuals, the cast was obnoxious and the storyline was uninteresting.

  42. “The real surprise is that so many people are still going to see that leathery old bitch Julia Roberts.”

    Christian, are you still here projecting? Most people vomit their bile in the toilet; you should try that sometime.

    Eat Pray Love was a wildly successful book before it ever became a movie with a built-in following. Arguably even more so than Scott Pilgrim.

  43. “Lulz, KET. “Scott Pilgrim” was nothing but comfort zone entertainment for a certain niche. Let’s not go forgetting that.”

    Certainly YOU are determined to not let anybody forget that. Unfortunately, you will still never be able to convince enough people of this innate fantasy, no matter how many message boards you continue to clutter up.

  44. The other thing is that it between Friday and Saturday, that SP had the biggest drop-off suggesting that this is not going to carried by word of mouth.

  45. Innate fantasy? What’s your problem dude? Don’t get your ironic horned rim glasses all twisted.

    You’re trying to convey Scott Pilgrim as this wildly inventive and artistic film like it was the second coming of Un Chien Andalou and people just weren’t ready for it. The reality is that people were ready for it, they just didn’t care.

    They hyper ADD-pop culture pastiche has been on the public landscape since Family Guy. This kind of mix of reality and fantasy has been done before. To death actually. It’s hardly as new as I think you’d like to believe. It’s just not. that. good. And to people like you (I’m assuming) this was your comfort food. This was the kind of entertainment you like.

    Like I said, it was brilliantly executed, it just had a very obnoxious cast and an unremarkable storyline executed with a style and pacing that people have (despite what you’d like to believe) seen before.

  46. And if you’d like to talk about projecting, you’re the guy who is white-knighting every other post over a comic book. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black, my over-projecting friend.

    And I think it’s safe to call Julia Roberts a leathery old bitch. By all accounts she is every single one of those things. I’ve done my due diligence, get over yourself. There’s nothing wrong with that. And actually, if you’d stop for a minute trying to turn that grain a sand in your clamshell into a pearl there sweetheart you’d find that it’s actually an interesting point.

    Somehow these to disparate franchises (Expendables and Scott Pilgrim) have been turned on each other like an old Teddy Roosevelt election cycle, splitting the fanbase. Meanwhile no one (that I’ve seen so far besides myself) is questioning why such a mundane obnoxious done-do-death film like EPL did so well in the first place.

    I’m sorry but if you want to trot out the old “Expendables has been done before” defense, well for every three Expendables there’s approximately 18,000 Eat Pray Loves

  47. Eat Pray Love has the relentless Oprah juggernaut propelling it forward with glassy-eyed disregard for uniformly bad reviews.

    There is no hope in hoping for cult status for Scott Pilgrim. Universal did not put up $60M of an $85M budget for a cult film. They did not market the ever-loving crap out of a cult film. It doesn’t matter how much this recovers over the years on DVD and Netflix, this is going to hurt Edgar Wright, and that’s a damned shame.

    I’m not quite sure what Universal was thinking, actually. Did they get too excited about the box office power of comic books? If that’s so, then yikes.

  48. To those who argue that people didn’t like the movie, it’s tracking really well from users on mainstream sites such as IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes (critics liked it too but I’m talking about users from RT) and Yahoo Movies.

  49. @Matthew Fabb

    True. But I think everyone knew that this movie was beloved by the interwebs before it came out. So it tracking well on internet review sites isn’t all that surprising. In fact, that’s actually part of why it’s utter trouncing at the box office makes it so interesting.

  50. Christian: “Lulz, KET. “Scott Pilgrim” was nothing but comfort zone entertainment for a certain niche. Let’s not go forgetting that.”

    KET: “Unfortunately, you will still never be able to convince enough people of this innate fantasy, no matter how many message boards you continue to clutter up.”

    While I don’t share Christian’s vitriolic dislike of Julia Roberts, he’s entirely correct w/r/t Scott Pilgim — there’s nothing especially unique, challenging, or intrinsically brilliant about it. Heck, even it’s supposedly innovative invocation of video game iconography has been done better (and I think earlier) in the pages of Corey Lewis’ Sharknife.

    Love it or hate it, it’s nothing more than comfort food for it’s hipster target demo — and the only way it could be any more palatable *them* would be if a mama bird vomited its partially digested contents directly into their mouths.

  51. As a comic nerd, it amazes me that a decent selling, quirky, indy sensation was actually green lighted as a summer release. That in itself is its greatest achievement, to me. Honestly, more people who read mainstream DC and Marvel books are more likely to enjoy the Expendables anyways (40 year old males nostalgiabating over their early years).

    Scott Pilgrim would have been better off being released as a Spring Break movie or down another avenue all together like an Adult Swim series.

  52. According to Box Office Mojo, Edgar Wright’s last film, Hot Fuzz, earned under 24 million in the US (just over 80 million worldwide) for its entire release. Shaun of the Dead made under 14 million (30 worldwide) during its run.

  53. Great info! So I definitely hate Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead — not enough money made to get my stamp of approval. Will Scott Pilgrim rally with enough cash made I can decide to like it? Time will tell.

  54. I think its wonderful that all you film industry experts have chosen to give up your Hollywood executive jobs and work everyday, ordinary jobs like the rest of us mere mortals. Alas, if only your humble expertise could be put to use making films, what a paradise we’d live in at the Googleplex Odeon! I weep at the loss, and duck the flames!

  55. niche crowd? it is not the same as the comics. it is a really good movie. these two sentences can live together in harmony!

    Like Dark Knight, this is an adaptation — in some ways doing things better than the books. That’s why it’s good — it is not a strict translation or doesn’t clumsily try panels and thought balloons (which never really work). Even animation is really more of a translation. I also think it proves that video game signs can be used to further the narrative and bring in humor, tension, etc. Metaphor = symbolism = art. And the film does way cooler things with that than the books do. No spoilers, but Level 7!!

    It was not what I expected — but now I can’t even imagine it being done any other way. If Wright hit his head and instead decided to make this movie No. 1 and cast Bieber as Scott and Miley as Ramona with an all-new soundtrack then we’d all be bellyaching how he didn’t have the guts to, like O’Malley, do something new and interesting.

    Rating: Awesome.

  56. It was a fantastic movie playing in a packed house with a bunch of happy young people eating popcorn and laughing merrily along to a climax that left us all with smiles on our faces.

    Imagine my surprise that I have to feel bad about it because it was a huge failure. Sarcasm!

  57. I loved this movie enough to have seen it twice already (once free, once paid for), and I wasn’t even a fan of the source material. I don’t personally know anyone who has seen this movie who didn’t love it. I really hope positive word of mouth will keep this movie cooking until it at least makes its money back, although I think it’s pretty much guaranteed to do well on DVD.

  58. I think it’s just a tough movie to market. I tried to explain the concept to some friends who had not read the source material and got back blank stares. End of the day it doesn’t matter how good your movie/comic is if it doesn’t connect with the audience.

    Like Jason I’m hoping that positive word of mouth will make this movie an eventual success.

  59. Well, the books are selling.

    Right now, on BN.com:
    v.3 #206
    v.1 #182
    v.6 #350
    v.4 #270
    v.2 #195
    v.5 #252

    followed by Gabaldon, Evanovich, and Meyer on the bestselling Graphic Novels page.

    And for us Seducers of the Innocent, that’s what matters. People are reading comics.

    So, no matter how bad a movie is, and Scott Pilgrim seems to be a decent movie (I saw Inception this weekend instead), it will sell books.

    Because consumers will either want to compare the movie to the original source material, or, they will realize that the book was good enough for a film studio to spend at least $20 Million, or, they want to be familiar with the material before seeing the movie.

    Universal… they can run the numbers on box office and DVD sales. They know what the fans will do, how much merchandise they can sell, whether it’s t-shirts or DVDs or action figures or CDs.

    (I believe “Annie” was the first “flop” to use licensing to cover the cost of production. It never ranked higher than fifth at the box office, ranked #10 for the year, and did not make a profit in the theaters.)

  60. Just throwing this out there….
    I’ve been reading and collecting comics for over 3 decades, I have a wife and kids and enjoy movies, especially genre type films, and I have a good paying job.

    That bein’ said…..

    Never had a desire to read Scott Pilgrim the comic, and the movie, will probably never get watched by me either.
    Why? I don’t find it to be something I want to read about or watch. Didn’t care about teen-age stories when I was teen ager, let alone now that I’m an adult.

    No desire to see The Expendables or any of the other crap in the theatre right now. It ALL looks lame.

    The A-Team was an awesome movie. I saw that twice. ;)

  61. Rikk: “Didn’t care about teen-age stories when I was teen ager”

    Um, Scott Pilgrim is 22. And the movie has a very twentysomething sensibility to it. It’s basically “(500) Days of Summer” with a linear storyline and more fist fights.

  62. Here’s a breakdown on the audience for SCOTT PILGRIM:

    Yet the current regime embraced Scott Pilgrim vs The World as a counterprogramming maneuver this weekend even though they knew auteur filmmaker Edgar Wright’s $60M budget (even with location credits) envelope pusher wouldn’t open or earn out. But that’s only because it got great reviews (which younger moviegoers rarely read) and an “A-” CinemaScore. The audience was 64% male/36% female, and 58% under 25 yrs of age/42% 25 yrs and older. Uni tried to hype the genre-bending pic as too cool for the room and claim it didn’t know if Scott Pilgrim would make $5M or $15M this weekend. But the pic will do exactly what Uni execs predicted to me it would: a pittance.

    Revenue watching is fun because projecting whether a movie will succeed or fail is a mixture of art and science, and success or failure can make or break careers. Movies and the celebrities who perform in them are big businesses. Scoring the competition each weekend is as entertaining, in its way, as watching an NFL or NBA game. One doesn’t have to watch a movie to be interested in how its success or failure affects the people involved.


  63. I await all the “Scott Pilgrim is a Bom-Omb” headlines.

    I think it’s interesting the number of “comics fans” I know who have no desire to see it, since it’s not a superhero movie (per se).

    I’ll see it eventually, but, all the hype made me not so eager to go opening weekend.

  64. Christian,

    You must be a real beauty to call Julia Roberts a ‘leathery old bitch’ and for your sake, I hope you are, a beautiful treasure to look at.

    Because ugly people need personality to fall back on and yours could really use a face lift.

    PS. Christian has shown the world that a person can have no class and still be in a class all by himself. Because obviously, the rest of the world doesn’t think Julia Roberts is a ‘leathery old bitch’ but Christian does, which would put anything that comes out of his mouth seriously into question.

  65. And Christian, how many times can does the general public have to read you unhinge your lizard like jaw on message boards and release that horrible bile about other people before you just give up?

  66. charles foster kane, I’ve already seen some “Scott Pilgrim is a Bob-omb” headlines or opening lines. Also Scott Pilgrim is unable to beat the final Ex of The Expendables (or variation on that).

    Also to add to John Green’s mention of Edgar Wright’s previous films, Scott Pilgrim is set to beat the domestic box office of Hot Fuzz (24 million). However, that movie only cost 8 million pounds (so around $14 million US) compared to Scott Pilgrim that cost $60 million.

  67. @Jason

    “Um, Scott Pilgrim is 22. And the movie has a very twentysomething sensibility to it. It’s basically “(500) Days of Summer” with a linear storyline and more fist fights.”

    Still doesn’t change anything. I don’t like “relationship” stories, whether they’re about teens, 20 year olds, or old farts.

    Plus, being that I’m in my mid 40’s, there isn’t a helluva lot of differance between teens and twentysomethings. ;)

  68. Charles Knight posted, “The other thing is that it between Friday and Saturday, that SP had the biggest drop-off suggesting that this is not going to carried by word of mouth.”

    I hope that your conclusion is wrong, Charles, and that word-of-mouth does give SCOTT PILGRIM legs. When my wife & I saw the film, it wasn’t playing at the nice, clean megaplex closest to us; we ended up at the run-down, second-rate movieplex a couple of miles further away. So, I am guessing that a lack of higher-profile venues for the movie is also hurting its box-office take.

  69. Ol’ Scotty here does seem like a bit of duck out of water. Seems like Hellboy is the best movie to compare it to (relatively unknown character, recognizable but not bankable stars, similar budget-scale at $66M). But HB was released in early April, reached #1.

    Blade is another one, released a week later than SP, 1/4 smaller budget (45M), but I believe hit #1 as well from what I remember (although Snipes is a more recognizable star).

    Looking at next week’s releases I cannot understand why SP wasn’t set for a week later (Piranha 3D, WTF!?). SP wasn’t a revolution, but it was a good, funny movie and deserves more screens than it is going to get next weekend.

  70. Just a minor crit on the fight scenes: Cera is not a physical comedian so he could not translate his comic timing and mannerisms into the fights. Instead of choreographing the fights to keep his personality intact – it looked like two different characters – the Cera who can deliver a line with unique timing and the Cera who learned some moves for closeups, exactly as he was taught. He didn’t ingrain it and translate it into his own or was unable to.

    Compare that with Wong who played Knives Chau – she had previous training and she was able to show the same enthusiasm and vibrancy her character had. I can tell it was Knives fighting. I could not tell if Pilgrim was fighting.

    The only time that timing was physically present was actually a director jump cut of Cera tying his sneakers. And that worked perfectly.

  71. Its a terrific movie with the odd flaw that has generated great book sales for a talented author and his visionary publisher and will make its money back and then some. Cera wasn’t my idea of Scott P. but his timing and delivery is so perfect and he’s got great comics chops in the film. Edgar Wright should be proud, he’s directed a very good film,. Can’t wait for the DVD and directors cut. I saw two screenings and still bought a ticket to see it on friday nite. What’s not to like?

  72. The problem is that movies based off newer comics/characters have much less fans tha you realize. Its a loud minority, but that doesnt make it a big group of people able to support a movie. We’re not talking Batman or any Avenger or any X-Men who have been in comics for 40+ years and attract big name stars and have larger built-in audiences. 300 was really an action film tat happened to be a graphic novel-but the graphic novel fans didnt drive the audience-mainstraem action fans did. wake up-comic folks-comics hit their peak almost 20 years ago. get over it. like music its now diverse and spread out into mini-fan bases, none of which can sustain a movie with a budget over 50mil. forgive spelling errors.

  73. While it’s true that most new comics have relatively small audiences, film adaptations of those comics can and do get noticed beyond those circles (e.g. Kick Ass). While it’s unlikely to shatter box office records, on DVD sales alone it’ll make a profit.

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