The real shame of this for everyone involved in the film, and fans who are eagerly anticipating it, is that “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” has the makings of a sequel that can far exceed the earnings of its predecessor. The first “Shazam!” debuted to stellar reviews and, with a relatively modest (for a superhero movie) budget of $100 million, it earned a very respectable $366 million globally. That was enough for Warner Bros. to green light a sequel, presumably with a higher budget and more spectacle.
While it is not an easy thing to quantify, “Shazam!” is a movie that seemed to garner a much larger fanbase than its box office would seem to imply. A lot of people found it after it left theaters, no doubt encouraged to by those who did see it. That, coupled with the recent string of acclaimed DC movies such as “Joker,” “The Suicide Squad,” and “The Batman” could push interest for the sequel to another level. Every indication points to “Fury of the Gods” grossing more than the first movie did, assuming it doesn’t have to go up against a movie like “Avatar 2.”
Look at “John Wick: Chapter 2,” which built on a similar type of buzz that swelled up after the first movie quietly did decent business but found a huge audience after the fact, leading the sequel earning $171 million, more than double the first movie’s $76 million take. Sticking in the DC universe, we can look at one of the most prominent examples in history with “Batman Begins” taking in $358 million only for “The Dark Knight” to swoop in three years later and make $1 billion globally.
With added star power in the form of Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu, and “West Side Story” breakout Rachel Zegler, “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” is certainly the kind of movie that can have that sort of extra juicy success when compared to the original. But only if Warner Bros. wises up and doesn’t stick to this pointless box office showdown. Sticking to this date seems foolish and only serves to hurt an exciting franchise within the DC universe. It is a needless risk that the studio does not need to take. Unless “Avatar 2” is delayed yet again (and Disney seems firm with this date), this isn’t going to be a showdown so much as it’s going to be a knockout.