Edgar Wright Learned a Lesson from ‘Scott Pilgrim’ Disappointment: First Weekend Isn’t ‘End of the Story’

Edgar Wright is no longer beholden to box office numbers after the release of “Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World.”

Wright addressed the fan-favorite indie comic book adaptation film and its infamous opening weekend box office when reflecting on his career as a whole.

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“I’ve said this to other filmmakers since who’ve maybe had a similar initial reaction to a film like ‘Scott Pilgrim’ did, is that the three-day weekend is not the end of the story for any movie. People shouldn’t buy into that idea,” Wright said in his BBC Maestro course, via The Hollywood Reporter. “Rating films by their box office is like the football fan equivalent to films. Most of my favorite films that are considered classics today were not considered hits in their time.”

Edgar continued, “You can point to hundreds of classic movies, whether it’s ‘Citizen Kane’ or ‘Blade Runner’ or ‘The Big ​Lebowski.’ So how a film does in its first three days is never the end of the story, and the further we get away from that discourse about box office numbers being the totality of a movie, the better.”

“Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World” stars Michael Cera as the titular Toronto bassist who dumps his high school girlfriend (Ellen Wong) for an elusive manic pixie dream girl (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who is followed by a League of Evil Exes whom Scott must defeat to win her heart. Jason Schwartzman, Chris Evans, Kieran Culkin, Mae Whitman, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, and Alison Pill also star in the 2010 film.

Based on Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novel series, “Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World” only grossed $49.3 million against its $85 million budget overall but has since accumulated a cult following. Director Wright is currently executive producing a “Scott Pilgrim” anime series for Netflix, created by comic book writer O’Malley.

On the film’s 10th anniversary in 2020, Wright reflected on the legacy of “Scott Pilgrim.”

“It got good reviews, and all the people who were coming to the Q&A’s were really loving it and fervent about it. But that didn’t translate initially,” Wright said of the box office debut to Entertainment Weekly. “It opened the same weekend as ‘The Expendables’ and ‘Eat Pray Love.’ I remember getting an email from Marc Platt, one of the film’s producers, on the Friday asking Universal to put more into the spend and predicting doom for the weekend. And I thought — naively — I thought, ‘Well, it’s only Friday morning, how could they know?’ They know. It opened at number five.”

Wright added, “It’s that thing where it becomes a bit of a punch line. I’ve never liked Seth MacFarlane, because that weekend he tweeted ‘Scott Pilgrim 0, the World 2.’ I was like, fuck you. And then I lay in wait until ‘8 Million Ways to Die in the West’ came out, or whatever it was called, and I rubbed my hands with glee. I didn’t tweet anything because I’m not a total monster. But Monday morning Michael Moses sent an email with three words. It was one of the sweetest emails I’ve ever gotten from anybody in the industry. It said, ‘Years, not days.'”

Wright noted that when the “Scott Pilgrim” DVD was released, the cast embarked on a full press tour and “just carried on promoting it like nothing had happened.”

“With most of the movies we love there’s a tortoise-and-a-hare aspect,” Wright said. “‘The Thing’ opened at number eight. ‘Big Trouble in Little China’ didn’t even crack the top 10. I don’t know why I picked two John Carpenter movies, no disrespect to him.”

And each year Wright pens a tribute to his “Scott Pilgrim” family, with this year’s post reading, “Happy 12th anniversary to ‘Scott Pilgrim Vs The World’. Am so lucky I got to make this with such an amazing cast and crew in Toronto. And even more grateful that it’s continued to find an audience long after opening weekend. Please stuff your face with garlic bread to celebrate.”

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