James Gunn's wry response to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 test screening score

Ben Bussey
·UK Movies Writer
'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' (credit: Marvel Studios)
‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ (credit: Marvel Studios)

As if hopes were not already high enough for ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,’ audience expectations just went through the roof with the news that the upcoming Marvel sequel got a 100% approval rating from a recent test screening.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news, noting that scores this high are extremely rare from test screenings, and unprecedented for Marvel movies: the previous highest-scorers were ‘Avengers Assemble’ and ‘Iron Man 3,’ which reportedly both scored somewhere over 90%.

Naturally, this got fans pretty excited – but returning ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ writer-director James Gunn had a somewhat self-deprecating response to the news.

Gunn told his Twitter followers, “For the record the 2nd highest scoring film I’ve worked on is Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed – so I take these things w a grain of salt.”

Yes, we tend to forget this now since 2014’s ‘Guardians’ established Gunn as one of the coolest filmmakers on the planet, but prior to getting into directing Gunn’s highest profile work was as a screenwriter on the two live-action ‘Scooby-Doo’ movies made by Warner Bros in the early 2000s.

Zoinks. (Credit: Warner Bros)
Zoinks. (Credit: Warner Bros)

2002’s ‘Scooby-Doo’ and 2004’s ‘Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed’ were directed by Raja Gosnell and starred Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddy Prinze Jr, Linda Cardellini and Matthew Lillard as the mystery-solving teens of the classic cartoon series. While a modest commercial success, neither film met a favourable critical reaction: their Rotten Tomatoes scores are 30% and 21% respectively. (For comparison, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’s RT score is 91%.)

It should also be noted that Marvel Studios take a slightly different approach to test screenings: rather than selecting audience members at random from the general public, the studio reportedly take a ‘friends and family’ approach, drawing from employees, although THR tell us this remains “a vigorous testing procedure, not a celebratory reception.”

Gunn started out as a screenwriter with notorious cult film company Troma, scripting 1996’s ‘Tromeo and Juliet.’ Later he wrote the 2004 ‘Dawn of the Dead’ remake before breaking into directing with 2006 sci-fi horror ‘Slither,’ and 2010 black comedy superhero movie ‘Super.’

But even if Gunn calls for clear heads regarding ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2’s test screening score, fans are sure to remain impatient for the sequel to hit UK cinema screens on 28 April.

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