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‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ stumbles with $30.5 million debut

The “Shazam!” sequel fell short of its modest expectations ($35 million) as well as the first film in the series

Zachary Levi arrives at the world premiere of "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, at the Regency Village Theatre in Los Angeles.
Zachary Levi arrives at the world premiere of "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, at the Regency Village Theatre in Los Angeles.Richard Shotwell (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

“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 over 4,071 theaters.

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.

“Shazam! Fury of the Gods” cost a reported $125 million to produce, not factoring in marketing and promotion costs. 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.

Second place went to “Scream IV” in its second weekend in theaters. The horror pic, distributed by Paramount, fell 61% from its debut and added $17.5 million, bringing its domestic total to $76 million.

In its third weekend, “Creed III” grossed an additional $15.3 million to land in the No. 3 spot. The film, directed by and starring Michael B. Jordan has now earned $127.7 million in North America.

Following its Oscar sweep last Sunday, A24 added over 1,000 screens for an encore " Everything Everywhere All At Once " run, where it earned an additional $1.2 million. “The Whale,” for which Brendan Fraser won best actor, played on 509 screens and made $145,230.

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