Shazam! Fury of the Gods may have won this weekend’s box office, but Warner Bros. can’t be too happy about the lower than expected $30.5 million debut.
Even with lower expectations than the original Shazam! (which brought in a $53.5 million opening in 2019), the new James Gunn branded DC Universe can’t get here fast enough for fans and executives.
Audience diagnostics are way off for Shazam: Fury of the Gods, with a current score of 53% on Rotten Tomatoes (and a predictably higher Audience Score of 87%) and a fair B+ on Cinemascore. These figures represent a dramatic decline from the original film’s 90% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes and a stellar grade of A from CinemaScore.
With so many superhero films and series to choose from, the ticket buying public is taking a wait-and-see attitude about all but the highest profile films. It also doesn’t help that Fury of the Gods contains unrecognizable, non-DC Comics villains (a lesson Hollywood learned in the 1990s) and huge family of heroes to juggle, taking away from the special nature of the starring character.
In a similar vein (although Warner Bros. would have killed for a $100 million opening), Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania continues to crawl across the finish line, with a slight chance to catch Ant-Man and the Wasp’s series best $216 million. The third film in the trilogy made only $4.1 million this weekend (fifth place) and is unlikely to crack the $500 million worldwide barrier, something unthought of a few years ago for a Marvel film.
Other films continue to outperform superhero fare (in terms of profitability when production and marketing costs are factored in) such as Scream VI (second place this weekend with $17.5 million), Creed III (third place with $15.3 million), and Cocaine Bear (sixth place with $3.9 million). Hollywood’s less expensive hits are certainly a good sign for the theater business and for the variety available.
Come back next week to see how far Shazam!: Fury of the Gods drops and how the rest fare at the weekend box office.