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‘Scott Pilgrim': No. 5 at the Box Office, but No. 1 in Trending Topics

Film’s middling weekend performance belies solid reviews and word-of-mouth

“Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” replaced “Inception” as the No. 1 movie in America Monday. Sort of.

In fact, Universal’s Edgar Wright-directed youth comedy was Twitter’s top trending topic of any kind Monday, displacing Warner’s “Inception,” which had occupied that distinction for the last month. 

Chalk it up to yet another metric that usually relates to box-office success being totally belied by the marketplace.

The PG-13-rated offbeat comedy, starring Michael Cera, premiered to just $10.5 million at 2,818 North American theaters this weekend. That was even less than the mid-teens pre-release tracking estimates for the $60 million-budgeted film.

Given that performance, you’d expect to see the reviews and word-of-mouth of a turkey. But that’s hardly been the case.

Critics aggregator Rotten Tomatoes scores “Scott Pilgrim” 80 percent fresh, with the New York Times’ A.O. Scott commenting, “Its speedy, funny, happy-sad spirit is so infectious that the movie makes you feel at home in its world even if the landscape is, at first glance, unfamiliar.”

Meanwhile, movie customer satisfaction grader CinemaScore gave the film an “A” for audience members 25 and under — a demo that represented 58 percent of the film’s overall audience.

In fact, “Scott Pilgrim” emerged from Comic-Con last month with the kind of solid buzz among convention tastemakers that usually portends a breakout to a wider audience.

Noting that the film is “genre-bending” (i.e. not easy to market to a mass audience), Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said she’s hopeful the film can still break out.

“All you guys in the press keep writing and talking about how we need more original movies,” she said. “Well, Edgar has done that.”