Box Office Preview: ‘Shazam: Fury of the Gods’ Aims for $35 Million Start

“Shazam: Fury of the Gods” is expected to take the box office crown from “Scream VI” when the superhero sequel opens in theaters over the weekend. But don’t expect Billy Batson and company to break any DC franchise records.

The “Shazam” sequel is aiming to collect a so-so $35 million to $40 million from 4,000 North American cinemas between Friday and Sunday, based on early estimates. Unless the Warner Bros. film seriously crushes expectations, inaugural ticket sales will fall significantly short of its pre-pandemic predecessor, 2019’s “Shazam.” The first film, which introduced the world to Zachary Levi’s comic book character who becomes a hero by saying the magic word “Shazam,” opened to $53.5 million and ended its box office run with $140 million domestically and $366 million globally.

More from Variety

Like the original, the sequel cost $100 million to produce. That’s a lot of money, of course, but it’s significantly less than recent DC installments like “Black Adam” and “The Suicide Squad,” which carried price tags between $185 million and $200 million and thus required a lot more coinage to turn a profit. For different reasons — “The Suicide Squad” was released simultaneously on HBO Max amid the pandemic and “Black Adam” was poorly received — both of those movies disappointed in their box office runs. By comparison, “Black Adam” opened to $67 million last October before tapping out with $168 million in North America and $392 million worldwide. There was one bright spot for DC in between those releases: Robert Pattinson’s “The Batman” impressed with its $134 million debut last March and ultimately earned $369 million domestically and $770 million globally.

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 fight the Daughters of Atlas, who wield a weapon that could destroy the world. Rachel Zegler, Adam Brody, Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren co-star in the film. Reviews for the sequel are currently under embargo.

“Shazam 2” is this weekend’s only new nationwide release. Already, it’s been a busy month at the domestic box office as Michael B. Jordan’s “Creed III” and Paramount’s slasher sequel “Scream VI” beat expectations. And there’s more good news for theater owners: upcoming releases, including “John Wick: Chapter 4” (March 24) and “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” (March 31), look to keep up the momentum through March.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.