The fandom around the movie Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World was a fascinating phenomenon to me. I saw a dozen of news articles, blog posts, podcasts, forum debates, twitter discussion, and Facebook rants after the movie’s first weekend in theaters about the question: “Why did Scott Pilgrim Bomb?” The best analysis of why the movie did not do well the theaters was the article on Cinema Blend as its five reason were pretty much spot on. But what interested me more than the fallout at the box office was the strange cult of Scott Pilgrim fans that made the movie into a line in the sand on which the future of entertainment was based.
Not fall fans of Scott Pilgrim are this insane. I saw many a person who enjoyed the movie and then maybe urged some of their friends to see it as well. What I am talking about was this vocal minority in the fandom that seem to think that the fate of independent comics, comic book movies, and even entertainment in general was intimately linked to the how well this movie did. You were either for Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World or you were with the cultural barbarians trying to tear down the noble Camelot of free artistic achievement. I went to the movie and I even enjoyed the film quite a bit but I cannot see why this film would provoke such a fanatical response.
In my opinion Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World was doomed to be a cult classic from day one. It is one of those movies that bombs in theaters but goes on to do decently on DVD. It will be constantly talked about by fans who recommend it to others with a zealot like glee to like-minded friends for years to come. The direction by Edgar Wright is spot on and plays up the quirks of the comic brilliantly earning a place in the hearts of many people who saw the movie. By the same token the movie wears its bizarre quirkiness on its sleeve in a way that does not allow anyone who was not predisposed to the movie to want to see it. Despite all the positive buzz it had it never had the legs to be the break out hit its fans wanted it to be. I cannot understand why fans thought otherwise.
The most important thing to take away from this is that no matter what happened the future of independent comics is generally unaffected by what happened to Scott Pilgrim. When Northrop Davis was on the ANNcast he mentioned that an anime movie bombing does not mean Hollywood will never look at anime for another movie to produce. When the Dragonball: Evolution failed it mostly means that Dragonball become radioactive but not all anime properties. So when Scott Pilgrim failed other independent comics still have the same chance they used to. We don’t have independent comics being snatched up left and right but they are far from untouchable. The cult of Scott Pilgrim has to sit back and gently sell the movie they love on its merits and not resort to bizarre scare tactics.