I despise box office reports, analysis and anything else having to do with the immediate gauging of a new film’s success, probably because a lot of times it takes me a few weeks and sometimes a few months to get around to seeing a movie I’m interested in (it took me 66 days to finally fit in “I Am Love,” for example). And I hate to say it, but the incessant references to a four-day-old title as “a bomb” or “disappointment” occasionally affects my desire to see it. “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” may not have made a lot of money its first weekend compared to other new movies. But word of mouth should be good to this one, if we hold back the premature dismissals and let it ride. Like most people, I didn’t expect to enjoy it half as much as I did. If you’re similarly doubting you’d enjoy it, you’re probably underestimating it, too. Just tell me why you didn’t see it and I’ll tell you why you should ignore that reason and give it a shot. As for those of you who did see it and loved it, rather than focus so much energy on wondering why it didn’t do as well as you’d hoped and complaining about its low return so far, concentrate on ways to convince moviegoers, theater owners and Hollywood why it is still worth their time and effort. Or, we just let everyone wait and see it on DVD/Blu-ray and enjoy it then (and no, unfortunately, nobody’s really going to care that they didn’t see it in theaters), either way is fine by me.
In the meantime, read some of the more positive responses to all the “Scott Pilgrim vs. the Box Office” headlines out there after the jump.
People keep saying “you can’t blame the marketing.” Sorry, I blame the marketing. It was a good movie. Marketing’s job is to communicate that. Based on the trailers, I thought it looked stupid, and I ended up loving it. The trailers totally failed to convey the cleverness of the movie, and instead we got annoying hipsters with stupid hair. Just play two minutes of the Chris Evans segment and you could’ve sold the movie. Instead they hammered home the basic outline of the premise (the weakest part of the movie) and gave us “It’s on like Donkey Kong.” Seriously? How many meetings did it take to come up with that one? What was the alternative, “Got exes?”
Maybe the film’s concept wasn’t explained very well. Looking at the trailers, it’s hard to tell what kind of movie it is. Superhero? Comic book? Young romance? Teen comedy? It’s actually all of those (and more), but that’s hard to convey in a 30-second spot. Movies like The Expendables and Eat Pray Love, on the other hand, are pretty easily defined, and have hugely recognizable stars to boot. (In the case of Expendables, a large cast of famous people is all it has.)
I hope that DVD sales turn out to be strong, and, more broadly, that Hollywood even cares about metrics other than box office gross, since those long-tail metrics just may be the place where deeper enjoyment and appreciation of the property resides. I don’t think Scott Pilgrim-style filmmaking is dead yet or by any means, but it may be a long while before it gets any sort of budget again.
Michael Lee at The Wrap (I’m not sure I comprehend his whole argument, but I’m highlighting it anyway):
Is there a Michael Cera backlash? Are comic book movies finished? What about the future of director Edgar Wright? Times like this make me wish people chill. Or better, that more people in the industry and industry press played poker.