One fateful weekend back in August, The Expendables, Eat Pray Love, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World went head-to-head-to-head at the box office, each hoping its target demographic (Spike TV enthusiasts, middle-aged ladies, and teens with carpal tunnel syndrome, respectively) would propel it to a No. 1 finish. The old-guy actioner grappled its way to the top with about $35 million; the Julia Roberts vehicle skidded into second with $23 million. Entirely lost in the shuffle, all the way down at No. 5, was Scott Pilgrim, with a $10.6 million take. The film, which reportedly cost $60 million to make, went on to gross a hair more than $30 million domestically—a disappointing haul by any stretch of the imagination. Odd for such a well-thought-of crowd-pleaser—especially one that thematizes Super Mario Bros.-esque coin collection—but then again there is seldom much sense to be made of the weekly ticket-sales sink-or-swim.
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Scott Pilgrim gets its extra life on DVD and Blu-ray this week, and perhaps British filmmaker Edgar Wright's adaptation of Canadian cartoonist Bryan Lee O'Malley's graphic novel will suit the living room better than it did the multiplex. With its comic-book sound-effects onomatopoeias blasting across the screen, and its densely layered video-game references, this is a film that will reward frequent pause-button frame-scouring.
But Scott Pilgrim isn't just a trove of geek-approved in-jokes. Wright, who directed Simon Pegg in the clever but ever-so-slightly-overrated genre spoofs Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz—and whose finest work probably remains the minute-and-a-half fake Don't trailer, which ran in the middle of 2007's Grindhouse double feature—also includes in his latest film several of his patented spoofs-in-miniature, including a terrific one-off laugh-tracked scene that imagines a mundane roommate-logistics conversation as sub-Seinfeld-ian kitchen banter. And Chris Evans turns in a brief but near-revelatory comic performance as Lucas Lee, a champion-skateboarder-turned-movie-star who overrides the director to call action on the Toronto set of his latest Expendables-esque high-octane entertainment.