Superhero sequel stumbles on opening weekend – Variety

Shazam wasn’t the magic word at the weekend box office.

“Shazam: Fury of the Gods” opened at No. 1 in North America, but the Warner Bros. and DC Comics fell short of expectations with its disappointing debut of $30.5 million from 4,071 theaters. By the weekend, the movie was expected to make between $35 million and $40 million, which already wasn’t all that spectacular considering it cost the north $110 million to make and another $100 million to market.

That’s a substantial drop from 2019’s “Shazam,” the first comic book episode starring Zachary Levi’s quirky hero, which opened to $53.5 million and ended its box office with 140. million in the domestic market and 366 million in the world. It’s also one of the DC Cinematic Universe’s worst starts, aside from pandemic-era releases like “Wonder Woman 1984” ($16.7 million) and “The Suicide Squad” ($26 million). dollars), both of which simultaneously opened on HBO Max.

At the international box office, “Shazam 2” added $35 million across 77 markets for a dismal global debut of $65.5 million.

Reviews and word of mouth might not help “Shazam: Fury of the Gods” in the week ahead. It landed a “B+” CinemaScore, down from the first film’s “A” rating. And it holds 53% on Rotten Tomatoes, a dramatic drop from the original’s 90% average. David F. Sandberg returned to direct “Fury of the Gods,” which centers on Levi’s Billy Batson and his foster siblings — all of whom transform into superheroes when they say “Shazam!” – as they team up to battle the Daughters of the Atlas, who wield a weapon that could destroy the world. Rachel Zegler, Adam Brody, Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren co-star in the film.

“Fury of the Gods,” to some degree, is also a victim of DC’s Great Reset. It’s the first movie to be released since James Gunn and Peter Safran took over the superhero universe and gave it a whole new direction. Although the producers were careful not to rule out absolutely the return of any established DC heroes (except Henry Cavill as Superman), fans can see the writing on the wall.

At one point, comic book tents were untouchable at the box office. But “Shazam 2,” along with Disney’s poorly received Marvel sequel “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” is starting to show cracks, at least when it comes to underrated adventures. “Ant Man 3” impressed with its mighty $106 million opening weekend in February, but it slumped over the following weeks and will almost certainly end up as the lowest-grossing installment in the trilogy despite the bigger start. DC’s previous standalone adventure “Black Adam,” directed by Dwayne Johnson, was also massively disappointed in its theatrical release, grossing $392 million worldwide off its over $200 million budget.

That’s not to say superhero fatigue has taken over – and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3″ and Sony’s “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” appear to be dominating at the summer box office – but it points to a future in which studios can no longer release just any mega-budget comic book adaptation. in theaters with expectation it will easily gross at least $500 million worldwide.

So far [in 2023], ‘Ant-Man’ has slowed down after a great start, and ‘Shazam’ is down,” says David A. Gross, who runs film consultancy Franchise Entertainment Research. “Neither film found an original, creative path; nor raised their streak.

Elsewhere at the box office, Paramount’s thriller “Scream VI” slipped to second place with $17.5 million from 3,676 North American theaters. Those ticket sales, down 61% from its stellar debut of $41 million, bring the sequel’s domestic total to $76 million after two weeks on the big screen. The horror film added another $40 million internationally, bringing its worldwide total to $116 million.

Michael B. Jordan’s sports drama “Creed III” took third place with $15.3 million from 3,477 theaters, down just 44% from the previous weekend. After three weeks of release, the film has grossed $127.7 million. Already, the third “Creed” movie has surpassed its predecessors as the first film ended its run with $109 million and the sequel with $115 million.

Sony’s prehistoric sci-fi thriller “65” landed at No. 4 with $5.8 million from 3,405 theaters, a 54% drop from its debut. The movie, starring Adam Driver, has grossed $22.4 million to date, which isn’t a great result considering the $45 million budget.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” rounded out the top five with $4.1 million from 2,650 theaters in its fifth weekend of release. It’s made $205 million in North America so far, above the original “Ant-Man” ($180 million) and behind 2018’s sequel “Ant-Man and the Wasp” ($216 million). of dollars). But at $462 million worldwide, ticket sales for “Ant-Man 3” are significantly lower than the first film at $519 million and the follow-up at $622 million.

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