DC and New Line Cinema’s Shazam! Fury of the Gods is a superhero pic scorned.
The movie opened to a dismal $30.5 million domestically from 4,071 theaters, well behind the $53.5 million domestic opening of the first Shazam! in 2019, not adjusted for inflation.
That’s one of the worst starts for a major Hollywood superhero film, as well as one of the worst for a title in the DC Cinematic Universe, including those released during the pandemic. Fury of the Gods cost at least $110 million to produce before marketing.
The news was just as bad overseas, where Fury of the Gods opened to just $35 million from 78 markets — including bombing in China with $4.4 million — for a worldwide start of $65.5 million.
In North America, prerelease tracking had suggested Shazam! Fury of the Gods would open to at least $35 million this weekend. Others believed it had a shot at $40 million.
Shazam 2‘s Rotten Tomatoes critics score is a ho-hum 54 percent. That compares to 90 percent for the 2019 movie. The sequel also received a more subdued B+ CinemaScore, compared to an A for the first.
Families — which played a key role in the first movie’s surprise success — remain a challenging moviegoing demo in the pandemic era. Parents and kids also turned out for the sequel.
Fury of the Gods is the 12th installment in the DC Extended Universe and the first to be released since Warner Bros. Discovery chief David Zaslav tapped James Gunn and Shazam! franchise producer Peter Safran to run DC Studios and engineer a complete overhaul.
Fury of the Gods also comes as the future of the DC characters and actors introduced before Gunn and Safran’s takeover hangs in the balance. Superman actor Henry Cavill, for instance, won’t be returning. Levi addressed his future at Tuesday’s Hollywood premiere, telling The Hollywood Reporter: “I’m very happy with this movie. … I hope it’s not my last.”
David F. Sandberg directed Shazam! Fury of the Gods from a script by Henry Gayden and Chris Morgan. Asher Angel and Zachary Levi return as Billy Bastson aka Shazam. Djimon Hounson, Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu and, in her first film since her breakout role in Spielberg’s West Side Story, Rachel Zegler, also star.
The weekend’s other new wide release was Roadside Attractions’ Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin’s Moving On, which debuted to $798,000 million from 791 screens. The comedy relied on older adults, which, like families, are a challenged demo. Moving On came in No. 12.
Back in the top 10, Scream VI pulled in $17.5 million from 3,675 theaters for a domestic total of $76 million. The slasher pic fell 61 percent. Overseas, it earned another $11.3 million from 53 markets for a foreign tally of $40 million — a good showing for a horror pic — and $116 million globally against a budget of $33 million.
Creed III also remained a notable contender, earning $15.3 million from 3,477 locations in its third outing for a domestic cume of $127.6 million. The Michael B. Jordan pic added $12 million internationally from 75 markets for a foreign cume of $96.6 million and $224.3 million globally.
At the specialty box office, Focus Features’ Willem Defoe heist-thriller Inside came in No. 14, grossing $470,000 from 375 locations.
March 19, 7:45 a.m.: Updated with revised estimates.
March 19, 1:40 p.m.: A previous version of this story had an incorrect estimate for Moving On.