Edgar Wright says Scott Pilgrim re-release is 'best-looking version you’ve ever seen'
Edgar Wright has two new films coming out this year with his music documentary The Sparks Brothers premiering in theaters June 18 and his psychological horror movie Last Night in Soho arriving on cinema screens Oct. 22. But, ahead of that, the British director has some unfinished business. On April 30, Universal is rereleasing in Dolby Cinemas at AMC venues a new version of Wright's 2010 film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World which benefits from remixed sound and 4K remastering.
"It's been [remixed] in Dolby Atmos, which it wasn't before, and then it's remastered in 4K [with Dolby Vision]," says Wright. "So it looks sharper and better than it ever has done before and sounds better than it ever has done before. We had done this Dolby version for the 10th anniversary last August but obviously, everything was shut. Dolby and AMC and Universal suggested bringing it out now because the cinemas need support and need product and I'm happy to help with that."
Based on a series of graphic novels by Bryan Lee O'Malley, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World stars Michael Cera as a Toronto-dwelling indie-rock bassist who has to battle the seven exes of his new girlfriend Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). A box office misfire at the time of its 2010 release — despite a cast which also included Chris Evans, Brie Larson, Jason Schwartzman, and Kieran Culkin, among other notables — Wright's film swiftly acquired a cult following which seems to grow with every passing year.
"It's funny, as soon as I announced that trailer on Twitter, somebody responded and said, 'This is going to be the first thing that gets me to the theater in an entire year,'" says Wright. "I sent that tweet to Universal. I said, 'Here we go! Saving cinemas!' I heard the other day [that] Bryan Lee O'Malley himself tried to book tickets for it in Los Angeles, but all the screenings that he tried to book tickets for were sold out, which he thought was hilarious."
Below, Wright talks more about the new version of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and how the original movie was almost a very different film.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you find the time to work on this new version of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World?
EDGAR WRIGHT: The nice thing was that I was able to bring back the original team. Julian Slater, who mixed the film originally, supervised this mix. He basically went back to the stems and remixed the movie for Dolby Atmos. Then, Steven Nakamura, the original colorist, worked with me, and Paul Machliss the editor, and Bill Pope (the film's cinematographer). I left people who were at the top of their field — Julian and Steve Nakamura —to do what they needed to do and then we just watched it. It was quite an astounding thing [to see] in the middle of finishing the other movies. It looked and sounded incredible. That's the thing. It will be the best-looking and sounding version that you've ever seen.
There seems to be such a love for this movie, particularly among younger film fans.
I've heard that from a lot of people. I've heard from a lot of directors that I know, it's their son's favorite movie. I get asked a lot, "Can you sign a Scott Pilgrim poster for my kid?" That's kind of sweet. It's an interesting thing. I think in that oral history we did last year, Bryan Lee O'Malley said he felt it became a cult movie three weeks after it had left general release. I think people who were aggrieved that it hadn't done better and quickly started programming it at midnight. Beyond that, then there's a younger generation of teenagers, and maybe people who are younger, who have only ever seen it at home. I got that response when I posted about the rerelease. People kept saying, "Oh my god, I was not old enough to see this at the cinema, I missed it, I can't wait to see it." That's amazing.
I'm very pleased that it is winning new fans. It's great that people feel very fondly about it, but somehow it's even better that it has a younger fanbase. There are some films that become cult that don't have any fans that didn't see it at the time if that makes sense. I think particularly films made for younger people eventually start to become a bit creaky.
I'm happy that the film has turned into something that can be exploited. [Laughs] Obviously, 11 years ago, it was a film that didn't make its money back, but it is now sort of an ongoing catalog title for Universal. That makes me happy. They can bring out as many Blu-ray steelbooks as [they] like. It's fine by me.
I think it helps that the fantastical superhero tropes the film is riffing on have become so much more prevalent in movies and TV shows in the years since 2010.
I think that's true. I remember when I was trying to get the green light for the film there was definitely some nervousness at the studio about the fantastical elements of it. One of the then-studio heads, Marc Shmuger, after my presentation, took me aside. He said, "Hey, listen, that was all great and we're going to make it, but I just wanted to ask, if we don't do any of the effects it's still going to work, right?" I was like, "Ah…" I was like, "I don't really know what that film is, but, I mean, sure." At that point, when you're either going to get a green light or not you kind of have to say yes to everything. But I thought, what do you mean, what will it look like without the effects? The thing is, it's a little bit out there in a way that now everybody just accepts. Back then, some people saw the trailer and were thinking, what the f--- is that? [Laughs]
Are you done with Scott Pilgrim now? Or do you have further plans for him?
I may be speaking out of turn, but I know there were plans from Bryan Lee O'Malley to sort of take the story a little further in a different medium, but nothing is announced yet.
Tickets for screenings of the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World rerelease are available at the AMC Theaters website (remember to wear a mask!).
Watch the trailer for the new version of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World above.