Why James Gunn’s Brightburn Is Rated R

Jackson A. Dunn as Brandon Breyer in Brightburn
(Image credit: (Sony))

Currently there are two movie genres especially blowing up box office numbers and discussion amongst moviegoers: superheroes and horror. The upcoming James Gunn-produced film Brightburn will explore a bit of both genres by putting a terrifying spin on the Superman origin story. The horror flick starring David Denman and Elizabeth Banks looks to be leaning a lot more into its horror elements, per the recent release of its rating. Check it out:

Rated R for horror violence/bloody images, and language.

The Motion Picture Association of America has deemed Brightburn with a rating only fit for mature audiences, so get ready for some serious frights and gore. The horror will be set off by a young boy named Brandon Breyer (Jackson A. Dunn) who mysteriously falls to Earth in a spaceship as a baby, is found by the Breyers and raised as their own. The story is quite reminiscent of Clark Kent, right down to having superpowers such as super strength, flight and heat vision. There’s a twist though: instead of becoming a boy scout superhero who saves the world time after time, the boy starts using his powers to inflict pain on others and looks to become the evil entity of Brightburn.

From the trailers that have been released for Brightburn so far, it looks terrifying. So it doesn’t come as much of a surprise the flick would receive an R-rating ahead of its spring release. The footage sees Brandon transform from an unassuming kid who is bullied to one who resorts to violently breaking the hand of a classmate and testing the limits of his powers. Once he gets the gist of his strength, he starts to use it to wreak havoc on people all over town in a red mask, even putting in danger his adopted parents.

Brightburn was written by James Gunn’s two brothers Mark and Brianz and is directed by David Yarovesky, who helmed The Hive in 2014. As mentioned earlier, Guardians of the Galaxy’s James Gunn is also on as producer for this intriguing take on a familiar origin story that is usually much more innocent. The movie certainly looks to be a fun take on the Superman story that flips it on its head and goes for a much more mature and frighteningly dark tale. How else will it use its comic book roots, I wonder?

Brightburn was originally set to come out in fall of 2018, but with the controversy surrounding James Gunn's firing from Disney possibly factoring in, the film was pushed back to May 24, alongside the live-action remake of Aladdin. Since the date shift, Gunn has been hired to helm The Suicide Squad for Warner Bros and rehired for Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3, putting the filmmaker’s name in much better condition to be slapped on marketing for Brightburn, beside the many other exciting 2019 releases coming this spring.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.