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The wait is over. Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2 has been released to theaters everywhere. Joyous is the sound of fans and general audiences, singing the praise of another smash hit from director James Gunn and co. It’s true. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 – albeit not as fresh and new as the first one and perhaps a little too big a spectacle for its own good – is way fun, warm (a lot of feels in this movie), and is everything going to the movies should be – a good time. While numbers are still rolling in, it saw $56 million at the box office on opening day, and is targeting a big $140 million weekend. Suffice to say, it delivered and is performing as well as everyone hoped it would. And no one is as thankful and as happy as the films director James Gunn.

Taking to Facebook earlier today, Gunn put out one of the sincerest and earnest thank you to fans, opening up about his time spent making the series, what influences both shaped and saved his life, and what box office success really means to him.

He starts off saying:

“I’ve spent the past two and a half years making a film, probably a good 95% of my non-sleeping life during that time, and sometimes it seems it all comes down to these few weeks of release in theaters. Let me tell you, it’s harrowing. The movie is doing incredibly all over the world, up nearly fifty percent over the first film in most territories, and a breakout hit in countries where it didn’t do as well the first time around (hi, Korea!) I’m exceptionally proud of how well it’s doing in the countries I’ve visited and where I’ve made many friends the past few years, Thailand, Brazil, Colombia, Russia, the UK. You’ve all welcomed me into your countries and I’m a better person for my interactions with you.”

To a guy like James Gunn, Box Office numbers don’t really matter to him but even he is not immune from the temptation to see how things are playing out:

“So, as we open up around the world, I would be lying if I said I don’t get distracted by the numbers. The first thing I do in the morning is roll over in bed and check my phone for the morning box office reports. But, in the end, it’s not what matters to me. I write this now to let you know, but also to remind myself. Because I’m human and I sometimes forget.”

The message continues on, and it gets deeply personal:

When I was young I felt utterly alone, at times to the point of suicidal thoughts. I never felt like I belonged, had an incredibly difficult time connecting to other people and, despite having love around me, I had an impossible time experiencing it, or taking it in. But I found my respite in popular entertainment, Marvel comics, science fiction and horror films, the music of The Sex Pistols, The Replacements, and Queen. Suddenly I could see past the bland suburbs where I lived into a more magical world, a world more aligned with what I imagined. Sometimes these works were simply escapist fantasies that distracted me from the difficulties of my internal life. But other times, in the strongest moments, maybe through the words of Alice Cooper or Freddie Mercury, through Cronenberg films, or even in Chewbacca’s growl, I experienced something deeper, the realization that I wasn’t completely alone. Someone out there was as weird and strange and whacked out as I was.So this morning, as the internet discusses box office and its many theories around what that means (zzzzzzzz), I’d like to remember that that’s truly all nonsense and noise. The only meaning the money holds for me is that I can pay my mortgage, feed my dog and cat, and continue making movies. I haven’t worked two and a half years just to watch a string of numbers getting higher.”

He concludes his message with warm regards to the passion that is his work, and reminding fans that without them, he wouldn’t have in avenue in which to connect with people and have people connect with each other:

“I work because I like telling stories. I work because I love the relationships I have with my collaborators. And I do it because I like connecting with people, and the easiest way I know how to do that is through filmmaking. I do it so that some kid in Thailand, or England, or Colombia, or Brazil, or Japan, or Russia, or anywhere, can hear the frequency of his or her own heart bouncing back off the Guardians. They’re a group of heartbroken misfits whose lives have been bereft of tenderness and connection and who have a nearly impossible time trusting themselves or others. But they’re learning, one step at a time. They are me. They are you. We are Groot. And no matter how much world leaders are telling you we aren’t in this together, we are. You are not alone. Thank you so much, my Facebook friends, for supporting me over the past two and a half years, and thank you for all the messages letting us know we’ve keyed into the frequency of your hearts. I love you all, and I’ll continue being here with you over the next three years as we create Vol. 3. Love James. PS Still blocking spoilers. Sorry.”

Wow. What a guy, right? The world is just much better for having someone like James Gunn in it.

Category: Film

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