Screenwriter and director James Gunn has come a long way in his blockbuster career, but he's making sure to take time to appreciate the film that he believes jumpstarted his career.
In celebration of the 19th anniversary of the 2002 live-action adaptation of the iconic cartoon property Scooby-Doo, the director took to Twitter, where he praised the experience overall and shared his recollection of how it changed his career. Gunn writes, "So I went to sleep that night thinking perhaps I was a part of a box office bomb. The next morning I was woken up at 5:30 am by the head of Warner's production Lorenzo DiBonaventura telling me it had 18 million dollars the day before. It wasn't only a hit – it was, at that time – the biggest June opening for a film EVER. It was a mega-hit. And in a manner of seconds, I went from being just another screenwriter to a guy with a hit & my life changed completely."
The film enlisted a strong cast, including Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, and Linda Cardellini rounding out the all-important Scooby gang. Made on a hefty budget of over 80 million, the film actually managed to earn a grand total of $275 million in the box office and keeping the long-running property thriving through the early '00s. The eventual sequel Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed used a similar budget for the film, earning a still very impressive $180 million two years later in 2004.
The film wasn't a massive hit with critics at the time, but the film has maintained a strong core following and has proven to be a timeless film for children, but the decrease in profits prevented any further Scooby-Doo sequels. Gunn also shared back in 2019 that a third was in the works that would have brought the group to Scotland, Tweeting, "The Mystery Ink gang are hired by a town in Scotland who complain they're being plagued by monsters, but we discover throughout the film the monsters are actually the victims & Scooby & Shaggy have to come to terms with their own prejudices & narrow belief systems. (Yes, Really!)"
All these years later, it's nice to see that Scooby-Doo is a fond memory for Gunn as well as fans who grew up with the film almost two decades ago. At least we still have the animated versions!