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Brightburn is a 2019 American superhero horror film produced by James Gunn and Kenneth Huang. The film is directed by David Yarovesky from a screenplay by Mark and Brian Gunn, and stars Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Jackson A. Dunn, Matt Jones, and Meredith Hagner. It is produced and financed by Screen Gems, Stage 6 Films, Troll Court Entertainment, and The H Collective, and will be distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing.

Brightburn film poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid Yarovesky
Produced by
Written by
Music byTimothy Williams
CinematographyMichael Dallatorre
Edited byAndrew S. Eisen
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • May 9, 2019 (2019-05-09) (Hungary)
  • May 17, 2019 (2019-05-17) (Mexico)
  • May 24, 2019 (2019-05-24) (United States)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$7 million[1]

Brightburn was announced as an "untitled James Gunn horror project" in December 2017, shortly before Gunn was dropped by Disney and Marvel Studios from the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, only to be reinstated. Gunn was attached as producer, with his brother Brian and cousin Mark writing the script. Principal photography began in March 2018 and filming wrapped in May of that same year.

Brightburn is scheduled for release in the United States on May 24, 2019.



Tori and Kyle Breyer are a farm couple trying to have a child, but they cannot. This devastates them, especially Tori. A meteor falls from the sky near their farm with a baby inside. They decide to adopt him, naming him Brandon.

Years later, Brandon discovers that he has superhuman strength. That same night, Brandon sleepwalks to the farm's basement, which contains the meteor he arrived in. Tori stops and wakes him, with Brandon seemingly delirious. As Brandon ages, he grows more disobedient and disrespectful towards Tori and Kyle. To his parents' surprise, Brandon chews and bends a fork with his teeth; Kyle begins to suspect that something is wrong with Brandon.

Tori finds strange and disturbing drawings, leading Kyle to talk with Brandon about puberty and girls. That night, Brandon goes to his classmate Caitlyn's house, staring at her through a window until she notices him. The next night, Tori and Kyle discover that their chickens have been killed. Tori suggests that it was a wolf attack, but Kyle insists that Brandon is responsible. The next morning at school, students do a trust fall exercise but Brandon's classmate does not catch him, calling him a pervert for spying on Caitlyn; Brandon breaks Caitlyn's hand when she tries to lift him up. Later, Tori finds her son levitating on the basement ground saying he has to "take the world".

Brandon visits Caitlyn but her mother throws him out of their home. Furious, Brandon murders her in a diner. Brandon's aunt Merilee tries counseling her nephew to no avail. She gets angry and decides to tell the police about the situation. Brandon follows her home and threatens her. Merilee's husband, Noah, finds him in the closet and decides to tell his parents. En route to their home, Brandon kills Noah in his car.

Tori and Kyle learn of Noah's death and are alarmed when Brandon does not react to the news. Convinced that Brandon killed Noah, Kyle takes him on a hunting trip with the intention of killing him. He shoots Brandon, but the bullet does not hurt him. Brandon fires lasers into Kyle's head, killing him. Meanwhile, Tori finds Noah's bloody clothes in Brandon's room along with more drawings and calls the police. Brandon arrives at the house, destroying it while killing the arriving officers. Tori goes down to the basement where the meteor is and takes a sharp piece as a shiv, hoping it will serve as his weakness. However, Brandon finds Tori and lifts her into the sky before dropping her to the ground, killing her as a plane flies towards him.

The next morning, a newscast reports that the plane crashed and everyone on board was killed, and later shows Brandon destroying cities and killing millions of people worldwide.



The film was announced in December 2017 as an untitled horror film with James Gunn as a producer, his brother Brian and cousin Mark writing the script, and David Yarovesky directing.[3][4]

In March 2018, Elizabeth Banks, Jackson A. Dunn, David Denman, Meredith Hagner and Matt Jones were cast, and filming began the same month.[5]

Principal photography took place in March 2018 and wrapped in May of that same year.


There were plans to promote the film at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con, but it was pulled at the last minute in the wake of James Gunn's removal from Walt Disney Studios and Marvel Studios,[6] only for Disney and Marvel to reconcile with Gunn nine months later.[7] On December 8, 2018, the first trailer for Brightburn was released online.

Critics reviewed the trailer as a "Superman horror movie" due to the intentional similarities to Superman's origin story.[8][9] Fast Company states that "although it's not officially a Superman movie, it walks viewers through every step of Clark Kent's origin story before taking a hard left turn."[10][11]


Brightburn is scheduled to be released in the United States on May 24, 2019.[4][12] It was originally scheduled to be released on November 30, 2018.[13]

In the United States and Canada, Brightburn is scheduled to release alongside Aladdin and Booksmart, additionally being projected to gross $10-$12 million in its opening weekend.[14]


  1. ^ Mendelson, Scott (May 2, 2019). "Box Office: Disney And Will Smith's Aladdin Tracking As High As $90 Million Over Memorial Day". Forbes. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  2. ^ "How 'Brightburn' Is Rethinking the Superhero Genre". The Hollywood Reporter. March 6, 2019. Retrieved May 15, 2019. The fact that "Brightburn" is the code name for the superpowered boy, the name of the town in Kansas and the title of the film is a reference to the Superman TV series Smallville (2001-2011), which also took a look at the growing problems of a superpowered teenager.
  3. ^ McNary, Dave (December 14, 2017). "'Guardians of the Galaxy' Director James Gunn to Produce Horror Movie for H Collective". Variety. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  4. ^ a b McNary, Dave (October 8, 2018). "James Gunn's Horror Movie 'BrightBurn' Moved to 2019". Variety. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  5. ^ Scott, Ryan (March 29, 2018). "James Gunn's New Horror Movie Cast Announced as Shooting Begins". MovieWeb. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  6. ^ Kupfer, Lindsey; Hood, Bryan (July 20, 2018). "Sony avoids mentioning James Gunn at Comic-Con presentation". Page Six. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  7. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (March 15, 2019). "Disney Reinstates Director James Gunn For 'Guardians Of The Galaxy 3'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on March 15, 2019. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  8. ^ Kreps, Daniel (December 8, 2018). "'Brightburn': See Terrifying Trailer for James Gunn's 'Superhero Horror' Film". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  9. ^ S. Good, Owen (December 8, 2018). "James Gunn's Brightburn looks like Superman as a horror story". Polygon.
  10. ^ Berkowitz, Joe (December 10, 2018). ""What if Superman was an evil kid?" asks this creepy-as-hell movie trailer". Fast Company. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  11. ^ Gogoi, Pallav. "The Dark Side of Superman - James Gunn's Brightburn adds an Evil Twist to DC's Most Powerful Superhero". Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  12. ^ Couch, Aaron; McClintock, Pamela (October 8, 2018). "Sony Pushes Back James Gunn Horror Movie to 2019". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  13. ^ Busch, Anita (March 7, 2018). "Elizabeth Banks And James Gunn Reunite For Horror Picture". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  14. ^ Rubin, Rebecca (May 2, 2019). "Box Office: Aladdin Eyes $80 Million Opening Over Memorial Day Weekend". Variety. Penske Media. Retrieved May 2, 2019.

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