“Shazam! Fury of the Gods ” felt the fury of the marketplace in its theatrical debut this weekend. The New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. superhero movie opened to a disappointing $30.5 million from 4,071 theaters, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The “Shazam!” sequel fell short of its modest expectations ($35 million) as well as the first film in the series ($53.5 million in April 2019), and earned a place on the very low end of modern DC comics movie launches, between “Birds of Prey” ($33 million in February 2020) and “The Suicide Squad” ($26.2 million in August 2021), both of which were R-rated.
Directed by David F. Sandberg, “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” brought back Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Adam Brody and Djimon Hounsou, and added Helen Mirren, Rachel Zegler and Lucy Liu. Critics, many of whom found the first film charming, were largely underwhelmed by this outing. It currently holds a 53% Rotten Tomatoes critic score.
Audiences were more positive about the sequel, giving it a B+ CinemaScore overall. Younger crowds were even more favorable.
“This movie clearly was lighter than we thought it would be,” said Jeff Goldstein, the head of domestic distribution for Warner Bros. “We know there’s a rolling spring break over the next few weeks when kids are available, which is who it’s targeted towards. We’re hopeful that we can get a big multiple.”
“Shazam! Fury of the Gods” cost a reported $125 million to produce, not factoring in marketing and promotion costs. Internationally, it grossed $35 million from 77 overseas markets including China, bringing its total earnings to $65.5 million.
The DC shop at Warner Bros. has been going through a major recalibration for the past several months, with new bosses in James Gunn and Peter Safran forging a path ahead for the DC Universe that will officially kick off with a new “Superman” in 2025. “Shazam! 2” was one of several holdovers of the old regime, which includes “The Flash” coming in June and a new “Aquaman” in December.
“Part of our company’s total overhaul of DC with Peter Safran and James Gunn is to reset it for the future,” Goldstein said. “It’s all about the future for us.”
For Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore, there’s a silver lining in that Warner Bros. and DC have “another No. 1 under their belt.”
“They’re trying to readjust and realign the brand,”…
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