Shazam 2 isn’t having a good time at the box office. The sequel to 2019’s Shazam earned just $3.4 million at the domestic box office after the Thursday previews, the lowest in the DCEU. It currently has a 53% Rotten Tomatoes critics score and it’s predicted to earn $30 million over the weekend. This is way less than the $53.5 million earned by the first film in its opening weekend. As such, the dismal box office numbers exacerbated by WB’s poor marketing decisions, have made director David F. Sandberg ditch DC and move on to better things in life.
Shazam 2 Director Speaks About What’s Next For Him
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Shazam 2 director David F. Sandberg spoke candidly about getting tired of superhero films. As per the Swedish director:
“That’s definitely how I feel right now, yeah. (Laughs.) I started my Shazam journey right after Annabelle: Creation in 2017, and so it’s been quite a few years of just Shazam. So I’m very ready to move on and go back to horror and just try some other things.”
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When asked what he is planning to do next since the future of the Shazam franchise is now undecided due to the formation of the DCU as well as the dismal box office numbers, Sandberg said:
“I actually have one project in development with James (Wan). It’s not at Universal, but it’s with his company, Atomic Monster. And I have been talking a lot with Walter (Hamada) about finding something to do together. I’ve worked with Walter on every single one of my movies so far. I’ve never made a movie without him, so I would love to do more with Walt.”
Sandberg’s decision to move on to other projects is understandable. After all, if the box office numbers of Shazam 2 don’t start picking up, the franchise with Zachary Levi as the lead is going to hit a dead end. DC fans have been confounded by the poor performance of the sequel since the first film grossed $366 million globally on a budget of $90 to $100 million and has a critic score of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. However, many blame the poor marketing by WB behind the atrocious box office numbers of the film.
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Did Shazam 2’s Poor Marketing Tank The Film?
When the trailers for Shazam 2 were getting released on social media, fans complained about them looking very generic. Multiple people also disliked the quirky acting of lead Zachary Levi. However, WB spoiling Wonder Woman’s cameo in a TV spot proved to be the death knell. In The Hollywood Reporter interview, David Sandberg addressed the spoiled cameo and said that he was caught off-guard as well:
“I was surprised. (Laughs.) I was just getting back from the press tour, and I got a text, asking, ‘Hey, why spoil Wonder Woman?’ And I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ So I didn’t know, and they did apologize for not keeping me in the loop. But I understand why they did it, because they wanted to get people to see the movie. So, of course, I understand, but it’s a shame because these days, the only audiences who get to see these movies as intended are test audiences.”
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Apart from this, the director also expressed that the original release of Shazam 2, which was December 16, 2022, could have worked even with Avatar 2 dominating the box office. Sandberg said:
“At first, when they put it there (December 16, 2022 release date), I was like, ‘That sounds scary,’ but then, I actually grew to like the idea. I actually wanted us to stay there. I understand the reason why they moved it because [Avatar: The Way of Water] was taking up all of the IMAX and large-format screens, but I still think it could have worked a little bit like counterprogramming. But who knows?”
There’s no way to accurately determine why there’s such low interest in the sequel of a critically beloved and profitable superhero film. Film industry experts have given various reasons ranging from the titular character not being a big draw to the inevitable reboot making people disinterested in the 2023 DC films. It remains to be seen if Shazam 2 can prove critics wrong in the coming weeks.
Shazam 2 is now playing in theaters.