World slow to embrace ‘Pilgrim’

It really seemed as though the world was against Scott Pilgrim on Monday.

Actors Jason Schwartzman and Michael Cera at the Irish Premiere of the film Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Actors Jason Schwartzman and Michael Cera at the Irish Premiere of the film Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

TORONTO — It really seemed as though the world was against Scott Pilgrim on Monday.

As news spread of the opening-weekend grosses for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World — US$10.5 million, good for fifth place in ticket sales — the Internet was abuzz with speculation on why the film didn’t earn more.

Director Edgar Wright even took to his Twitter account to counter the notion that the movie’s gross was a disappointment.

“For the record, am pretty damn happy to have a Top 5 movie and a Top 5 album in the U.S.,” Wright wrote. “Never had either before.”

The film’s box office take might have seemed more underwhelming given the overwhelming amount of online discussion devoted to Pilgrim, a graphic novel adaptation that casts Canadian Michael Cera as a slacker who must fight his new girlfriend’s seven evil exes.

The movie was also well-received with critics, who gave Pilgrim an average review score of 81 per cent, according to Rotten Tomatoes.

On Monday, Scott Pilgrim again made Twitter’s list of trending topics, though many users were speculating on why the film didn’t perform better at the box office — or revelling in that fact.

“Hey nerds, if it makes you feel any better, I bet torrents of Scott Pilgrim are through the roof,” wrote one Twitter user.

Bloggers and online news outlets were also left to speculate on why the film — shot and set in Toronto — didn’t offer much of an immediate return on its reported $60 million budget.

Toronto Life magazine offered up a list of reasons why crowds might have stayed away — including the suggestion that neither Canadians nor Americans want to see a movie set in Toronto — while popular entertainment website HitFix blamed the release date, confusing marketing and Cera’s rapidly decreasing bankability at the box office.

The L.A. Times, meanwhile, called the weekend take “woeful” and suggested the 22-year-old Cera might “still (be) a long way from being a movie star.”

The supposed Cera backlash is reinforced by a fan-edited version of the Scott Pilgrim trailer, which is simply a montage of scenes from the film in which Cera gets punched (it’s been viewed more than 17,000 times).

But the film — which faced stiff competition in its opening weekend from No. 1 grosser The Expendables and the Julia Roberts vehicle Eat Pray Love — still has hope.

According to Cinemascore, the film earned an A-minus average score from filmgoers, so word of mouth could help the movie.

Fans will actually have to go see it, of course — a notion relayed by Bryan Lee O’Malley, the creator of the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels, in a fan message he retweeted to his 20,000-plus followers.

“See Scott Pilgrim today, guys. If you want truly original Hollywood movies, talking about them on the internet is not enough.”