New Line’s DC sequel Shazam! Fury of the Gods got off the ground at 3 p.m. Thursday and posted $3.4M in previews at 3,400 theaters.
That’s less than the first Shazam! back in April 2019, which did $5.9M in its Thursday previews (off showtimes that began at 4 p.m.). Shazam! also had another $3.3M in previous Fandango previews back in the day, for a grand preview total of $9.2M before a $20.3M Friday and a $53.5M opening.
Fury of the Gods, from the same director as Chapter 1, David F. Sandberg, is expected to come in under the first and will be lucky to hit $40M (domestic outlook is $35M, $85M global). We’ve been in a hot marketplace whereby sequels have been setting franchise-opening records, read Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania ($106.1M), Creed III ($58.3M) and Scream VI ($44.4M). That doesn’t seem to be the case here with Shazam! Fury of the Gods. We’ll keep watch if its situation improves.
The sequel is currently 54% Rotten with Critics with an 84% audience score, this versus the 2019 installment that was 90% certified fresh with an 82% audience score. That said, the first Shazam! was able to pull off an A CinemaScore. General audiences on Comscore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak gave the first film four stars.
Why make a sequel? The first one opened well and, despite making close to $366M worldwide, made a little profit for New Line with a net of $74M. DC Studios Co-Chief Peter Safran is a producer on the Shazam! franchise.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods bounced around the calendar, impacted by the pandemic, like several other films, but the most recent previous release date was December 21. Warner Bros. moved the sequel away from Avatar: The Way of Water, much to the upset of exhibitors, who were expecting more bucks at the end of the year. But it was for good reason: to get access to Imax, PLF screens and premium-ticket formats. Not to mention, Warner Bros. launched The Batman in March last year (granted, two very different superheroes).
Deeper dive on the first Shazam‘s audience make-up: Kids and parents repped 25% of the audience, which sources believe is a share which could expand on this one. Guys over under/over 25 were equally at 33%. Diversity breakdown was 53% Caucasian, 17% Hispanic, 13% Asian and 11% African American.
How the rest of the box office fared:
Paramount/Spyglass Media’s Scream VI (read the review) ends its first week with an estimated $58.5M after winning Thursday with $2.7M, -14% from Wednesday at 3,675 theaters.
MGM/United Artists Releasing’s Creed III (read the review) ends its second week with $38.1M after a $2.2M Thursday, -12% for a running total of $112.3M at 4,007 venues.
Sony’s 65 saw a first week of $16.6M after an estimated $870K Thursday, -10% at 3,405 theaters.
Disney/Marvel Studios’ fourth week of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (read the review) is $10.8M after a fourth Thursday of $772K at 3,105, -13% and a running total of $201.7M. That’s 7% ahead of 2018’s Ant-Man and the Wasp at the same point in time, that previous chapter ending its U.S./Canada run at $216.6M.
Universal’s Elizabeth Banks directed Cocaine Bear (read the review) at 3,204 theaters did an estimated third Thursday of $643K, -9% from Wednesday, a $9.1M third week and running total of $54.6M.