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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Why did ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’ bomb?

The numbers on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World are in, and they are not pretty: the film earned only $10.6 million over its debut weekend, three-quarters of a million behind Inception, which has been playing for more than a month, and way behind The Other Guys, even though it dropped more than 50 percent over its second weekend. It was totally left in the dust by the top two movies, newcomers The Expendables and Eat Pray Love.

What’s worse, word-of-mouth is looking dire for Pilgrim: It dropped steadily from Friday to Saturday to Sunday, suggesting that next weekend will see it drop precipitously. Josh Tyler at Cinema Blend dubs it “one of the biggest bombs of the year.”
Pilgrim certainly seemed destined to do better than this. It has been eagerly anticipated for months. Reviews are mostly ecstatic (my negative review is a distant outlier).

So what happened?

Cinema Blend’s Tyler has a few ideas, which boil down to:

People say it’s become cool to be a geek. That’s not true. People have just started applying the word geek to cool people. Hipsters aren’t geeks and geeks aren’t rock musicians and rock musicians aren’t old school gamers and aging gamers don’t like musicals. In a perfect world none of that would matter and people would simply show up to the theater and be blown away by the innovative level of creativity on display in Scott Pilgrim, but you have to get them there first.

And then there are movie lovers like me, who appreciate innovative levels of creativity, but didn’t really see that put to good use here.

Scott Wampler of Comedy Examiner puts Pilgrim’s flopping down to “Michael Cera fatigue” (which Tyler also touches on).

So what happened? Why did Scott Pilgrim vs. the World bomb? Are the devotees of the graphic novels simply too few in number, but misleadingly loud in proclaiming their love? Could it be a matter of a poor translation of the source material to the screen, leaving even its original fans unhappy? Something else?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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