After the splendid buzz and largely positive reviews comes the hand-wringing: Why wasn't Scott Pilgrim vs. the World a huge box-office hit? It opened fifth this weekend, after The Expendables, Eat Pray Love, The Other Guys, and Inception -- two fellow newcomers with lousy reviews, and two movies that a lot of people had already seen. The commentators who were recently applauding the American public for being smart and making Inception #1 three weeks in a row have now returned to their default "moviegoers are idiots" position.
Scott Pilgrim's $10.6 million isn't abysmal, but it's in stark contrast to the enthusiasm that the film's admirers have for it. People are tweeting about having seen it two or three times already; apparently that's not enough to compensate for the people who aren't seeing it at all. You can usually count on glowing reviews, months of hype, and an eager fanbase -- even a small one -- to produce an opening weekend better than this. People are comparing it to Kick-Ass, but that film had a $20 million debut.
So why didn't Scott Pilgrim do better? Could it be that Michael Cera has finally worn out his welcome as the awkward young man he's been playing ever since we met him? The movie is based on a series of graphic novels; perhaps moviegoers thought it was only for the comic-book crowd?
Or maybe the film's concept wasn't explained very well. Looking at the trailers, it's hard to tell what kind of movie it is. Superhero? Comic book? Young romance? Teen comedy? It's actually all of those (and more), but that's hard to convey in a 30-second spot. Movies like The Expendables and Eat Pray Love, on the other hand, are pretty easily defined, and have hugely recognizable stars to boot. (In the case of Expendables, a large cast of famous people is all it has.)
Let us know why you think Scott Pilgrim didn't conquer the box office. Feel free to elaborate in the comments. Then feel free to go watch Scott Pilgrim.