Three weeks ahead of its release, Warner Bros./New Line’s “Shazam” got its first round of opening weekend estimates on Thursday morning, with independent trackers setting it at a $40 million launch.
While that would be a drop from the $72.5 million launch “Aquaman” had in December en route to a $334 million domestic/$1.14 billion global gross, there’s still plenty of reason for optimism for this lighter, sillier DC film.
For starters, it was made on a smaller budget. While “Aquaman” was reported to have a budget well north of $150 million, individuals with knowledge of the production tell TheWrap that the budget for “Shazam” was closer to $100 million, similar to what Sony spent on its 2018 comic book hit “Venom.”
Along with the lower price tag, “Shazam” has enjoyed very positive social media buzz ever since its first trailer debuted at San Diego Comic-Con last year. Telling the story of a teenage boy who gains the ability to transform into an adult superhero, “Shazam” has won over fans with marketing that has promised a more humorous and lower-stakes movie than many of DC’s recent films.
“Shazam” follows foster child Billy Batson (Asher Angel), who is chosen as “Champion of Eternity” by an ancient wizard (Djimon Hounsou) and granted the ability to transform into the superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi). With the help of his disabled foster brother and superhero fanatic Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), Billy learns to master his powers and takes them out for a joyride but is forced to get serious when his powers attract the interest of the twisted industrialist Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong).
“Shazam” is directed by David F. Sandberg from a script by Henry Gayden, with Peter Safran producing. It hits theaters April 5