When we talk about movies that hit big at Comic-Con and then didn't hit big in the real world, we're sort of talking about Scott Pilgrim vs the World. Why this movie didn't cross over on initial release is actually beyond me - it's absolutely brilliant, is totally fun and is better made than almost any other movie of the last five years - but for whatever reason all that Hall H buzz simply didn't translate into box office receipts.
I really like this trailer because it begins as a riff on standard teen romance movies before revealing all the strangeness and action goodness of the premise. It quickly shows off a bunch of the best Evil Exes, has a lot of fun comic action and even gets in some sexy Mary Elizabeth Winstead moments. How was this movie not a huge hit?
I remember that year at Comic-Con. It was the year that Scott Pilgirm was so hot, so big, that a blogger blackmailed a Universal rep to get into the screening, which was followed by a performance from Metric. People were in a frenzy for that screening, and it was just such a success. But there's something in the water in San Diego - we're all more positive, more hopeful down there. Scott Pilgrim's earnestness was maybe a couple of years too early. And it skewed young, meaning that the sandals and cell phone holster troops who make up 30s-40s fandom (your Star Wars people) rejected it. And then the movie was too new, too unique for mall audiences.
But who cares, really? Yeah, Scott Pilgrim vs The World made a big splash at Comic-Con and not much of a splash on release, but the movie exists. This wasn't ever going to be a franchise. There are no sequels. This is a complete movie, a movie that stands on its own and that, every year, more and more people discover. The year of Scott Pilgrim Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland came out and made a billion dollars. I bet that ten years from now nobody will be watching Alice and people will still be lining up for midnight shows of Scott. And ten years after that there's going to be an interview with a young filmmaker who is blowing everybody's minds and he or she is going to cite Scott Pilgrim as a major, defining influence.
Sometimes all you need are two things: a great movie and the patience to wait for everybody else to catch up.