Why Shazam: Fury of the Gods failed to thunder up big box office

Weird how announcing yet another reboot of the DC cinematic universe would essentially doom everything still on the docket before the big 2025 relaunch. Shazam: Fury of the Gods, the first DC film since the planned reboot of the DC Universe couldn’t muster up much box office magic landing with a very soft $30.5 million debut weekend.

Given the film’s $110 million production budget and $100 million marketing budget, that’s not the kind of haul Warner Bros. wanted to see.

The 2019 original fared much better with a $54 million opening. Shazam completed its box office run with $140 million domestic and $366 million worldwide.

Again, that was long before Warner Bros. essentially turned their thumbs down on the SnyderVerse take of DC characters. While Shazam was positioned in this nebulous maybe it would survive the reboot state, it was clearly part of Snyder’s DC Universe with that “cameo” from Superman and thus fair game to get wiped out like the white wave of anti-matter in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

It’s hard to see fans of the Snyder Verse flocking to theaters for the latest chapter of a DOA universe especially knowing that no matter how big the film did at the box office, it was going to have to fit into the vision of James Gunn and Peter Safran, the architects of the new DC Universe.

Warner Bros/DC still hasn’t rebounded from the sizable PR hit it took when Henry Cavill returned as Superman in the Black Adam post-credits. Cavill announced his return to the role on social media only to have to break the news weeks later that he was in fact not returning as the Man of Steel for any future DC film projects. It was an embarrassing misstep for all parties leaving Gunn to have to make some awkward social media explanations as to why Cavill won’t be moving forward as Superman.


This week, Ben Affleck hardly gave a ringing endorsement of the Gunn/Safran DC stating in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter:

“I would not direct something for the [James] Gunn DC. Absolutely not. I have nothing against James Gunn. Nice guy, sure he’s going to do a great job. I just wouldn’t want to go in and direct in the way they’re doing that. I’m not interested in that.”

Another likely reason for the lackluster box office haul is the delay of Shazam’s clash with his biggest rival Black Adam. Before Dwayne Johnson’s big power plays that made him persona non grata with DC, the plan for Shazam’s sequel really should have been all about setting up Shazam with Johnson’s Black Adam. That seemed the obvious path for the sequel especially with Black Adam arriving in theaters last fall. The timing would have been ideal to pit the two lightning-fused characters against each other.

Instead, Black Adam clashed with the Justice Society and Shazam battled Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu’s Hespero and Kalypso. It seemed like both films missed the opportunity to have the more marquee battle while their big screen drawing power was still viable.

Critics weren’t in love with the film either as it fared 53% on Rotten Tomatoes. Though the audience score was a far more receptive 87%.

If you checked out Fury of the Gods what did you think?

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.