Here's everything we know about Brightburn so far. Once upon a time, the James Gunn-produced superhero horror film was supposed to unveil its trailer during Sony's Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2018. However, the event was cancelled at the last minute, after Gunn was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
While he's best known these days for his efforts on the first two Guardians of the Galaxy movies, Gunn has a long history when it comes to the horror genre. After doing an uncredited rewrite on 2001's Thir13en Ghosts, Gunn went on to write the Zack Snyder-directed Dawn of the Dead remake three years later. Then, in 2006, he wrote and directed the horror-comedy Slither, which has since gone on to become a cult movie among horror cinephiles. More recently, Gunn wrote 2017's The Belko Experiment, a horror-thriller that pits the employees of a corporate office against one another in a battle to the death, Hunger Games-style. All in all, he's got a pretty eclectic body of work in the horror genre under his belt by now.
For his next trick, Gunn is combining superheroes and scares for the horror movie Brightburn. Sony has started to pull back the curtain on the film, but there's clearly a lot that the studio's keeping under wraps for the time being. With that in mind, let's dive into what we do know about Brightburn, at this point.
James Gunn Is Making Brightburn (With His Family)
While he's neither directing nor (technically) writing Brightburn, Gunn has been creatively involved with the project from the get-go. The filmmaker helped to develop the idea for the movie with his brother Brian and cousin Mark, and is believed to have played a fairly active role as a producer since then. Gunn has also worked with Brightburn director David Yarovesky in the past, as the latter called the shots on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's "Inferno" music video and was a post-production consultant on The Belko Experiment. Still, as far as the genesis of the film and its premise is concerned, Brightburn is very much a Gunn family affair.
Brightburn's Release Date Was Delayed To May 2019
Sony had originally scheduled Brightburn to hit theaters back on November 30, 2018. However, following its cancelled SDCC appearance, the studio decided to push the film to May 24, 2019. All things considered, though, the move suggests that Sony is still pretty confident about the movie's box office prospects. Memorial Day weekend is typically a much more competitive time for films than the post-Thanksgiving frame and that will remain the case in 2019. As it stands, Brightburn is poised to serve as counter-programming to Disney's live-action Aladdin and Fox's sci-fi adventure Ad Astra, which will be targeting the family crowd and older audiences, respectively.
Elizabeth Banks & David Denman Lead Brightburn's Cast
The Brightburn cast includes Elizabeth Banks and David Denman, whom audiences may know best for their roles in The Hunger Games movies and The Office TV series, respectively. Of course, Banks' resume extends far beyond her performances as Effie Trinket and includes roles in Gunn's Slither, as well as the Pitch Perfect trilogy (which she also co-directed) and her voice work in The LEGO Movie series. Denman has likewise carved out a niche for himself as a character actor, having appeared in films like 13 Hours, Power Rangers, and Logan Lucky in recent years. As for the rest of the Brightburn cast: their ranks include Matt Jones (Mom), Meredith Hagner (Search Party), and Jackson A. Dunn as "Brightburn" himself.
What We Know About Brightburn's Story (So Far)
So far, it's been revealed that Brightburn's plot revolves around Mrs. and Mr. Breyer (Banks and Denman), a small-town couple who discover a human-like alien child that's crash-landed on earth. The pair decide to raise the infant as their own and teach their adopted son, Brandon (Dunn), to keep his super-human abilities secret and use them to help others. As Brandon grows older, however, it starts to become more and more clear that there's an evil power inside him that's just itching to be released. And if that plot summary basically sounds like "What if Superman, but a bad guy?" to you, well, that's definitely not an accident.
Brightburn's Trailer Is A Man Of Steel Homage
The Brightburn trailer is a clear homage to Snyder's retelling of Superman's origins in Man of Steel, from its musical cues to specific shots that are practically lifted straight from Snyder's DC Comics adaptation. Of course, it remains to be seen if the actual movie feels quite as much like a Superman retelling where Kal-El turns out to be a villain, rather than a hero. After all, super-powers and alien origins aside, the setup for Brightburn isn't all that different from the many other films out there about parents who realize their kid is a force for evil (see The Prodigy, for the most recent example). Nevertheless, the superhero element adds an intriguing twist to this particular tried-and-true horror movie formula.
- Brightburn (2019) release date: May 24, 2019