Ruh-Roh! It has been 15 years since Scooby Doo was brought to theaters in a live-action romp, but nostalgic fans remember the campy film with care. Millions of kids around the world strapped in for the feature's supernatural thrills, but James Gunn nearly kept anyone under 18 from previewing the film. After lots of speculation from fans, the Marvel director and Scooby Doo writer said the cartoon adaptation was meant to be rated-R.
Over on Facebook, Gunn dropped the surprising news on fans with a tribute post to the film.
"I had loved the character of Scooby-Doo since I was a kid and was excited at the prospect of making a live action film with 2002's cutting CGI technology(!!)," Gunn explained after he confirmed Scooby Doo was his first studio film.
"It was not exactly what we planned going out — I had written an edgier film geared toward older kids and adults, and the studio ended pushing it into an clean cut children's film," Gunn continued. "And, yes, the rumors are true — the first cut was rated R by the MPAA, and the female stars' cleavage was CGI'd away so as not to offend. But, you know, such is life. I had a lot of fun making this movie, regardless of all that. And I was also able to eat, buy a car, and a house because of it."
Given Scooby Doo's reputation with children, it is not surprising to hear that its R-rating was nixed. Fans of the franchise were mostly underage back in the early 2000s, but there might be an interest in a more gritty cartoon adaptation these days. Scooby Doo's original audience has grown up, putting them in a demographic which is more suited to restricted features. If Warner Bros. ever felt inclined, the studio could whip up a more risque take on Scooby Doo for older fans, and the project would sure gain ground.
You can read Gunn's full Scooby Doo post below:
"Incredible. 15 years ago today the first Scooby-Doo: The Movie opened. For those of you who don't know, I wrote the screenplay for this film, and it was my first studio film, only having made Tromeo and Juliet and The Specials (film) before it. I had loved the character of Scooby-Doo since I was a kid and was excited at the prospect of making a live action film with 2002's cutting CGI technology(!!). Yes, it was not exactly what we planned going out - I had written an edgier film geared toward older kids and adults, and the studio ended pushing it into an clean cut children's film. And, yes, the rumors are true - the first cut was rated R by the MPAA, and the female stars' cleavage was CGI'd away so as not to offend. But, you know, such is life. I had a lot of fun making this movie, regardless of all that. And I was also able to eat, buy a car, and a house because of it.
We shot in Australia. My favorite memory? Freddie Prinze Jr and Sarah Michelle Gellar had rented an enormous, mostly-unfurnished house out on the ocean. The cast, a few members of the crew, and I, had massive games of Nerf gun tag throughout the house trying to kill each other for hours. Truly some of the most fun I ever had. I also remember sitting in Lillard's apartment late at night playing the game "Celebrity" with a group of celebrities. I was still pretty new to Los Angeles and the whole thing was a bit surreal. Oh, and I also remember doing a karaoke video in the touristy section of Surfer's Paradise with me and Linda Cardellini and Isla Fisher, line dancing with weird hats and props to, I think, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun or something. I know I have that video - I think blackmailing Linda and Isla might be a good anniversary gift to myself. On a second thought, they could probably use it to blackmail me.
I made some very close friends along the way - mostly Linda, one of the people I love most in the world, but also the wonderful Matthew Lillard, and, later, through Scooby-Doo 2 (yes I did the sequel) my great pal Seth Green.
So what do I remember from 15 years ago? I remember being bummed out that the reviews were pretty terrible. These days I might glance at the occasional review (admittedly, mostly only good ones), but back then I read EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. I also read everything written about the movie online, by, like, anybody, including bulletin board folks. It was a kind of film-self-involvement I've learned to avoid since, but needless to say it was not an exceptionally good day. But it was followed by, honestly, one of the best days of my life.
At about 5:30 Saturday morning opening weekend Lorenzo DiBonaventura - the head of production at Warners, and one of the people who gave me my start - called me and woke me up at home to tell me we made 18 million the Friday before. Now that doesn't seem to be all that much today - Guardians will make around that on a Thursday night alone - but back then it was enough to make the movie the biggest June opening ever. Until that moment, I thought if the movie came out and didn't do well I'd be able to continue getting writing jobs, and my life was going to be the same. But in that one single moment I knew everything had changed.0comments
And it did. I was offered every movie you can imagine. Like, uh, the Jabberjaw movie, and The Jetsons movie, and the Captain Caveman movie. I was offered tons of money to do all of these things. So, of course, me being me, I chose to write Dawn of the Dead. Go figure out my brain, who knows. So I raise my morning cafe au lait to toast Scooby-Doo! Thanks for the memories, pal."