This past Friday night, I did something I had not done in ages: see a movie on its opening night. I've seen a few matinees of films on their opening day, but the whole, see-it-with-a-packed-primetime-audience thing had been a while for me. (I think the last time I did that was when The Two Towers and The Return of the King came out.)
The film in question? Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
While it was on people's minds yesterday that the film did lackluster business at the box office, that was definitely not on the mind of the packed audience I saw it with on Friday.
When Diana and I, along with a couple of friends, pulled up to the theater, I was surprised to see long waiting lines for Eat, Pray, Love and not for Scott Pilgrim. This is a teenager flick with all sorts of modern and vintage (read, circa 8-bit Nintendo), right? And what do a lot of teenagers like to do on a Friday night? See a movie, and preferably not a soon-to-be-forgotten Julia Roberts star vehicle.
Only one screen played Scott Pilgrim while The Expendables and Eat, Pray, Love showed on multiple screens. I started to get this sinking feeling that I'd hear all about how Edgar Wright's best chance at mainstream audience acceptance was a bomb, disappointment, or a disaster come Monday morning.
As seen time and time again, what do people remember more, the movie or its box office figures (aside from the highest-grossing films of all time)? The movie, of course!
From the moment the 8-bit Universal logo appeared, I started laughing. Watching the film from the second row, this was like a bargain version of IMAX. And I, along with the company I was with (and the audience that sat behind us), loved the hell out of this movie.
Yes, the movie is fast-paced and over-the-top with all sorts of action. Its hero is not somebody you should look to for relationship advice. A wonderful film that will outlast its box office receipts, this is a film worth seeing again and again.
What's been frustrating in taking a strong interest in liking films this way is that people prefer to dismiss their merits based on box office. I'm well aware that the movie industry is a business, but what exactly constitutes a bomb doesn't necessarily mean it lost money or is forgettable. The list of films that actually meant something to a lot of people way exceeds the memory of its opening weekend. From Seconds to It's a Wonderful Life to Mallrats, I keep coming back to the notion that weekend box office reports make for something that can create some news content on a Monday morning, but they don't really mean anything.
What's stuck with me (and will stick with me) is how much I enjoyed Scott Pilgrim. Your parents might not get its greatness, but people who grew up on Nintendo, MTV, and The Matrix will.