‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ Serves Up $3.4M in Previews  

DC and New Line Cinema’s Shazam! Fury of the Gods has started off its domestic box office run with $3.4 million in Thursday evening previews.

Prerelease tracking suggests the superhero sequel will open to $35 million this weekend, one of the lower starts for a Hollywood superhero pic. Others believe it has a shot at $40 million, although that would still be behind the $53.5 domestic opening of the first Shazam! in 2019, not adjusted for inflation (that included $5.9 million in previews).

Shazam 2‘s Rotten Tomatoes critics score is a ho-hum 55 percent. That compares to 90 percent for the 2019 movie.

Families — which played a key role in the first movie’s surprise success — remain a challenged moviegoing demo in the pandemic era.

One advantage: the pic is playing in Imax and other premium-format theaters, which carry an upcharge.

Fury of the Gods is the 12th installment in the DC Extended Universe, and the first to be released since Waner Bros. Discovery chief David Zaslav tapped James Gunn and Shazam! franchise producer Peter Safran to run DC Studios.

David F. Sandberg directed Shazam! Fury of the Gods from a script by Henry Gayden and Chris Morgan.

Shazam 2‘s villains are the Daughters of Atlas, a trio of ancient goddesses who have come to Earth to reclaim the magical powers that the wizard Shazam (Djimon Hounsou) took from them. Naturally, defeating the villains is up to Billy Batson, aka Shazam (Asher Angel/Zachary Levi), along with his extended family/fellow superheroes Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer/Adam Brody), Eugene (Ian Chen/Ross Butler), Darla (Faithe Herman/Meagan Good), Pedro (Jovan Armand/D.J. Cotrona) and Mary (Grace Caroline Currey, playing both the regular and superhero versions of her character with a change of hairstyle).

The goddesses Hespera, Kalypso and Anthea are played by Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu and, in her first film since her breakout role in Spielberg’s West Side Story, Rachel Zegler.

Fury of the Gods also comes as the future of the DC characters and actors introduced before Gunn and Safran’s takeover hang in the balance. Superman actor Henry Cavill, for instance, won’t be returning. Levi addressed his future at Tuesday’s Hollywood premiere, telling  : “I’m very happy with this movie…I hope it’s not my last.”

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