Monday, August 16, 2010

Fretting About Scott Pilgrim? Don't

Edgar Wright made an excellent 60-85 million dollar movie. But that's sort of what he has done with less, so the fact that with more money, he produced something exceedingly awesome should come as no surprise (as the Rotten Tomatoes numbers indicate).

However, the impression that the media is likely giving a lot of people is that it is an abject failure because it opened in fifth place this weekend, and that it may affect Edgar Wright's future directing projects like Ant Man. I have grave doubts about that.

And let me get this straight: the studio opened a super-geek friendly movie against a movie starring a who's-who of modern action heroes and a new Julia Roberts movie and people are acting surprised that there may not have been enough moviegoers for a saturated threeway opening, and that is Edgar Wright's fault how?

To me, it seems likely that the movie will still make its investment back, and it could even do it while it is in the theatres, so really, there is no reason to fret about the success or failure of Scott Pilgrim right now, given the historical trends with other Edgar Wright movies.

For one, the movie hasn't opened in the UK yet, and Wright's last movie, Hot Fuzz, made 20 million pounds there, and Scott Pilgrim is arguably the biggest movie opening that weekend there. And I could see a version of this movie released in Japan doing very well too based on the tropes it explores and its visual style.

And let's put the Scott Pilgrim opening numbers in context: it made more in its US opening weekend than Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz did in their respective opening weekends combined.

Even if it doesn't do exceptionally well in theatres after all is said and done, it can still do rather brisk business on DVD. Hot Fuzz augmented its theatrical take with a whopping 33 million dollars in additional DVD sales in the US alone. And trust me, if the DVD release has the same level of dedication to extras that Edgar Wright's other releases have, it will be a winner and will likely have longer term appeal.

I remember when Grindhouse was released and it got disappointing numbers and a lot of news coverage about it being a failure. I just looked the numbers up, and between the worldwide theatrical release and DVD sales, it looks like it is rousingly in the black now.

So really, it shouldn't be all doom and gloom about this. Everything is still ok in the Wright/Scott Pilgrim universe.


Dan said...

I'm not sure it have the success in the UK that Hot Fuzz did. Firstly UK audiences went for Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, not the director. And secondly Hot Fuzz was set over here and was perceived as a UK film, whereas Scott Pilgrim is just another American movie, and so there is no urge to specifically support it.

MC said...

Drat. There goes my dream. (I want Edgar Wright to have whatever budget he needs to finish the Blood and Cornetto trilogy)