"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" director James Gunn does not mind that his movie's test screening results leaked -- would you really mind if it "leaked" that your child had a perfect test score? -- but he's also taking that result with a grain of salt.
You probably heard that the "Guardians" sequel got a rare 100, the highest test screening score for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date. (Even if it was a test screening just of Marvel "friends and family.") Gunn understands these test screenings pretty well. He knows how much the little details matter, and how a few words to the audience ahead of the screening can tilt their expectations in a direction that drastically raises or lowers their ultimate scores.
Gunn talked to Collider to promote "The Belko Experiment," and he shared his thoughts on the "Guardians 2" test screening.
"Those things are so random. I tweeted the next day that the second highest screening of any movie I've ever had was 'Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed,' which got like a 96 or something ... I also saw back in the day how little tiny things can adjust those scores in big ways."
He gave the example of a screening for his 2006 film "Slither." When they were recruiting people for that screening, they asked things like "Do you like 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre'" or "Dawn of the Dead," and other straight-ahead horror movies. That screening scored a 65. A week later, they screened the exact same movie, but this time they first asked people if they liked "Evil Dead II" or "Shaun of the Dead," movies that were more horror-comedies. That screening scored 12 points higher.
"The only thing that changed was that people expected a horror-comedy vs. expecting a straight horror movie, and it made a tremendous difference.
So there's a lot of permutations to those things. I think test screenings are an enormously helpful part of the process, but they're not helpful -- I don't even like the scoring part. ... What matters is, does the movie feel good in the room when it's being played? Where do I feel it's playing and where do I not feel it's playing? Are there things that people are confused about that they don't understand? Is there something about this movie that we don't know because we've been in our bubble for the past 15 months?
And I think they're really helpful in that way, but in terms of the overall scoring stuff, it is what it is. At the same time, I'm not going to lie and say I'm not happy to get good scores. I am. I love it when people say they love the movie..."
Sounds like he has a good perspective on it.
FYI, Gunn recently confirmed that "Guardians 2" will have a post-credits scene, as if Marvel wouldn't continue that tradition.
He also shared the latest TV spot: Never mind Baby Groot, Drax is gonna rob this thing blind.
"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" opens May 5.
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