10 years later, is it finally time for ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’ to collect its coins?
By Craig Allan, Staff Writer
In August of 2010, I was working at the SilverCity movie theatre in Coquitlam. While doing a check on a theatre I saw a scene from a movie. I had very little idea of what this film was, but the scene made me laugh. I looked at the marquee and it said the film was Scott Pilgrim vs. the World—a movie based off a graphic novel written by Bryan Lee O’Malley and directed by Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz’s Edgar Wright. The next day I bought a ticket to the movie; I had no idea what I was about to experience. Scott Pilgrim was a visual masterpiece—filled with great music, colourful action, and hilarious comedy. From its opening title sequence set to Sex Bob-Omb’ssong “We Are Sex Bob-Omb” (also known as “Launchpad McQuack”), to Scott’s final battle with Nega Scott—who turns out to be just a really nice guy—Scott Pilgrim was like no movie I had ever seen. Practically perfect in every way.
Sadly, while it achieved perfection, it was not appreciated in the real world. Pilgrim and his band Sex Bob-Omb were a box-office bomb. The film finished fifth on its opening weekend with only $10.6-million dollars total gross. It even lost out to “classics” like Eat, Pray, Love (second at the box office) and The Expendables (first at the box office). The film didn’t even come close to making back its budget, only recouping $47.6 million of its reported $85-million budget. How could this be? How could a film created with so much care and detail not only fail, but fail so hard?
A month later, after seeing the film five times in theatres in a fruitless attempt to make the film profitable, I went into the theatre on a Tuesday night in September to find Pilgrim, now situated at the very last theatre in the back of the building, full from top to bottom with moviegoers. The sight made me believe that Scott Pilgrim may just have more life in it. As the years went on, this “epic of epic epicness” began to be realized; the film gained its much deserved moniker as a cult classic. The film has even been the study of scholarly articles, as some view it as a prime display of a transmedia narrative (telling the same story with using different media and technologies) in movies. Even though the film’s disappointing track through theatres became a memory, members of the formidable cast still sing the praises for the film.
In 2020, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Scott Pilgrim, the moviewill be playing in select theatres to mark the occasion. One of those theatres is The Rio. Excited at the prospect of seeing the visual spectacle of the film on the big screen once again, I bought a ticket for the first showing. Once again I was not disappointed. The movie was just as visually stunning as it was when I first saw it 10 years ago. When I was waiting in line to get into the theatre, I heard the usher say that the film was sold out. The film was only expected to have a limited release when originally announced, but due to the pandemic, my speculation is that it may very well get a wider release due to theatres being starved for content. With more screens and more chances for people to see it in its full visual glory with the surround sound that accompanies it, maybe this is the time where Scott Pilgrim KO’s the evil box office and finally gets the prize of the number-one spot. Sure, it won’t be the same as getting the millions it rightly deserves, but maybe it will help the film move on from gaining the power of love to gaining the power of self-respect.