Monday, August 16, 2010

Scott Pilgrim's Box Office Performance

(or, Joe Grunenwald & The Infinite Sadness)

So Scott Pilgrim vs. The World came out this past weekend. While I have not been talking much about it (or, really, much of anything lately) here, I have been talking about it pretty much everywhere else possible, because I'm excited. I love the graphic novels, and the movie looked awesome, and when I saw it (at a preview screening on Tuesday evening), I was not disappointed. The film is FANTASTIC. The translation of the material from page to screen is perfect, but at the same time the movie isn't hindered by an adherence to the source material (something that, save for the changed ending, I found to be one of Watchmen's big problems). The performances are strong - Michael Cera is less Michael Cera-y than he usually is, Ellen Wong is perfect as Knives Chau, and Kieran Culkin steals every scene he's in as Wallace Wells - the fight scenes are extremely entertaining, and the style of the film is unlike anything I've ever seen before.

So, naturally, it tanked. And I mean, HARD. To the tune of only making back 1/6th of its production budget in its first weekend. That sucks. That really, really sucks. And it makes me really sad.

I feel sad for Edgar Wright. Watching Scott Pilgrim, I got the feeling that Edgar Wright made exactly the movie he wanted to make. The movie is packed to the brim with pure creativity, and it flies off the screen, unable to contain itself, and it's wonderful. Wright is a fantastic director - Jennie and I watched Shaun of the Dead again this past weekend, and I'd forgotten both how funny it is and what a great zombie movie it is - and the movie is by no means a creative failure, but to see it fail so grandly from a financial standpoint is really a letdown.

I feel sad for the movie itself, because it is so entertaining and so well-done, and because not many people are probably going to see it. So I suppose I feel sad more for those people than for the movie itself. When I see something that is of such high quality as Scott Pilgrim, I want everyone to see it, because everyone should see things that are high-quality. But given this movie's poor performance, who knows how long it will be in theaters for people to see. Sure, it will enjoy a long life on DVD (where it will almost assuredly attain cult classic status), but a large portion of the population - people who would probably really enjoy it - will probably never see it. And that's depressing.

My hope for Scott Pilgrim is that it gets a lot of strong word of mouth (on that front, I'm trying to do my part) and that people go see it in the coming weeks before it disappears from theaters completely. I know I'll definitely be seeing it at least once more. If you haven't seen it already, I highly recommend it. Between it and Inception, there's a nice selection of highly creative movies out there right now.

Or, I guess, if you like explosions, you could go see The Expendables. Whatever makes you happy.