The inconsolable grief of Scott Pilgrim fans (and why we need to move on).

Breaking news! Scott Pilgrim disappoints at box office! O.K., perhaps that news isn’t new, or even that surprising, but it is certainly disappointing, and one of the most widely reported box office blunders in recent history.

Trailer Addict attempts to subliminally convince you to see the film with this little banner.

Edgar Wright‘s adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s comic series opened to a dismal $10 million in the United States last fortnight. It didn’t fare much better in Australia, debuting at 5th place with less than a million dollars in b.o. takings.

This was despite the deafening online buzz during the film’s production, rapturous word of mouth following dozens of preview screenings and mostly effusive reviews. Leading into its weekend of release, #ScottPilgrim was the number one trending topic on Twitter. It remained in the top spot for the next two weeks, although mostly because people kept asking “How could Scott Pilgrim tank like that?”

First of all, as someone who is deeply embedded in the “deafening buzz” of internet chatter, I too was surprised by the financial failings of Scott Pilgrim. Of course, out in the real world, many remain completely unaware of what Scott Pilgrim is, let alone how good it is (unthinkable!).

As someone who bestowed upon Scotty P. a coveted five-star review, I felt the anger of many other internet writers who could not comprehend how it could be trounced by a film like The Expendables (not only one of the worst films of the year, but a worse action film than Wright’s kinetic comic adaptation). In the past two weeks, these writers have been hard at work begging readers to go spend their hard-earned cash on this film, with articles whose headlines include the phrases “Scott Pilgrim”, “best of year” and “pay cash”. Yep, pirating doesn’t count. The whole point is to heap equal amounts of praise and profits upon original films, so that studios will reward us with similarly excellent features in the future.

Here is a selection of our favourites (even if they occasionally hinge on cringe-worthy earnestness):

The plea: “So, if you haven’t — or if you have, but you didn’t pay for it — go cast your vote at your local multiplex. Buy a ticket for Scott Pilgrim and bring a friend. Make the future of film a brighter place! With jetpacks.”

The Plea: “So Australia, this weekend, as you contemplate how to forget our illustrious leaders for a few short hours. Please. Vote One Scott Pilgrim. You won’t regret it.”

The Plea: “”Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” wants to make you smile. It wants to entertain you. It wants you to get lost in the love story and invest in Scott’s attempts to learn. It wants you to pick a team and get invested. In short, “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” is never going to replace your beloved “Twilight” series, but it may expand your experience as movie fans.”

The plea: “But really, the best reason to go see Scott Pilgrim is because it’s a good movie. It takes a stab at saying something honest in a new way, and has a lot of fun doing it. If you like that kind of thing, and would like to see more of it, please go and pay to see Scott Pilgrim right now.”

In the end, the box office of Scott Pilgrim doesn’t really matter. People will argue about the reasons for its bombing (“it’s too niche”; “people don’t like Michael Cera“) for another two, three weeks tops. The film remains an excellent achievement; one that will live on in the hearts of fans forever, and will certainly increase its base of enthusiasts on DVD over the years.

The film’s lovers are still in the early stages of grief: denial, anger, pain, bargaining. I’d be lying if I didn’t share their frustration. But the upward turn is around the corner. We need to stop lamenting the fact it made less than Vampire’s Suck in its opening weekend. We need to stop begging people to see the film, as if only attendance validates its excellent. We need to move on.

Besides, we’re looking kind of desperate. Stay cool everybody.

You can check out my review of Scott Pilgrim vs The World here.

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