Does SCOTT PILGRIM Herald The End of Original Ideas?

by on August 16, 2010

in Entertainment

SCOTT PILGRIM Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona Flowers

This weekend, I chose to see Scott Pilgrim vs. The World rather than The Expendables. (Expandables if you’re typing too fast!).  I was dazzled and happy I saw it. The audience broke out in applause at the end and it was a great flick for all ages.

But.

Yea, but Scott Pilgrim vs. The World performed pretty poorly at the box office, bringing in barely more than $10 million while The Expendables netted Sylvester Stallone a $35 million opening weekend.  Hmm, how’d that happen?

Over on HitFix, Gregory Ellwood put it to us about what he thought went wrong with Scott Pilgrim.  Bad marketing seemed to be the big one for myself.

It wasn’t bad marketing overall that fell short, but a number of factors really. First Ellwood points out that Michael Cera isn’t all that there is and isn’t drawing crowds. He points out that the marketing promo art hides Cera’s face. Is it really that bad? This was my first real Michael Cera experience and I thought he played the resolute and angst filled young man pretty well.  Yet some say that we see the same character presentation from Cera in all his movies.

But what I think the primary problem is, as Gregory points out, is the subject matter that was really hard to convey to the hopeful audience. Like I pointed out in my review of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, I wasn’t sure going into Scott Pilgrim what it was. Cartoon, video game, battle of the bands? The graphic novel is a tough product to sell because of the presentation, despite the brilliant delivery and writing of the screenplay.

He also pointed out that other original content movies that were successful graphic novels have spiraled out of control on the launch pad, including “The Losers,” “Watchmen” and others.  He points out timing and coming out on the same weekend with “The Expendables” and “Eat Pray Love” didn’t do Scott Pilgrim any favors either, though the studio was surprised that “Expendables” stole their demographic.

As far as I’m concerned, I hope the next weekend drop off won’t be as severe as some are thinking it will be or that the movie might even pick up!  OK, I personally have never seen a movie’s box office take increase in the subsequent weekend, but hey, one can hope!

Here’s some food for thought:

Despite the box office being the bottom line of this business, it’s not the predictor of the quality of a movie. But it is the predictor of the success of a studio. As some of the chances that studios have taken on graphic novels that haven’t panned out, I can’t help but wonder if this could be the end of wonderfully original content? Will they lick their wounds and move on to the standard template screenplays that will bring the guaranteed money in? I hope not.

As it is, I wasn’t alone in liking the movie.  Online movie critics heavily praised Scott Pilgrim. The online community itself has given it a digital thumbs up!

Site: Scott Pilgrim score (The Expendables Score) [scores are links to site rank pages for your edification]

As you can see from these few sites, anyone who has seen these movies is giving Scott Pilgrim vs. The World the bigger thumbs up. But this last weekend, people took less of a risk and hit up “The Expendables” with it’s mega-star filled screenplay of death, destruction and vengeance! (Hey, I almost went and saw the other movie too, but I’m totally jazzed I hit up Scott Pilgrim!)  But if this delivery by Michael Cera is the same old Cera, I can also get how folks are worried he could be part of the problem.

Then again, it seems the studio understood the hurdle they had to conquer in marketing the movie.  I wonder why the didn’t consider hitting up the indie film festivals for a bit and getting some real time praise going for it.

I also have to take the pragmatic route concerning those scores:  More than likely they’re skewed in the direction of the fans of the movies who logged on, which truly dispels how much better one movie is over the other.  Then again, fans were so strongly inspired, they piled on to say “hey, check this out!”

Today, Scott Pilgrim is sitting 5th on the  box office charts.  Edgar Wright was pretty jazzed about that feat alone and is appreciative.  Check out my Twitter retweets from Edgar:

(RT @edgarwright: 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.)

(RT @edgarwright: For all of you who saw Scott Pilgrim more than once this weekend. 7,000,000,000,000pts. Bless you.)

You should at least check out the Hit Fix article… it’s a well constructed stream of thought… unlike some of my splattered thoughts!

HitFix, (Examiner.com: Did Scott Pilgrim fail because of Michael Cera)

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa Foils March 17, 2011 at 10:29 pm

It’s funny because everyone I know who’s seen the movie absolutely loved it. Let me see who all these “people” are.

Bruce Simmons (BruSimm) August 18, 2010 at 11:16 am

Kent,
Thank you so much for coming by. And while I appreciate the fact that you came by and went out of your way to make your point known, but being that it is what it is in your opinion, is great. But calling people names to make your opinion known, well, that’s another matter all together.

I’m leaving your comment as is, but BRUSIMM.com is a place where people can, in a civil fashion, discuss their opinions. I promote good healthy conversation where people shouldn’t be afraid to add to the discussion in a productive fashion without diminishing the other participants.

Thanks, have a great day.
The management.

Kent August 18, 2010 at 10:37 am

Why can’t you SP lunatics just admit the movie sucked? I know you’ve emotionally invested all your worthless being in the lead character because he exactly reflects your own hopelessly awkward selves, but nobody wants to see this crap.
People don’t like because they don’t know what it’s about. On the contrary, the advertising makes it PRECISELY clear what it is and THAT’S what people hate!

You want to talk yourself into thinking otherwise? Good luck! It will be a pitiful exercise in self-deception.

It’s a lousy movie THAT’S why it failed and nothing else.

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