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“Shazam! Fury of the Gods” thunders to a No. 1 opening at the box office, though the DC Comics adaptation is expected to fly in lower than its predecessor.
“Fury of the Gods” earned $11.7 million at the box office on its opening day, a figure that includes $3.4 million in its Thursday opening. That’s nearly half the $20.3 million the 2019 original earned on its first day of release, on its way to a $53 million bow. “Fury of the Gods” has a production budget of $125 million, which is $25 million higher than its predecessor.
The superhero sequel, which opens in 4,071 theaters, will likely struggle to reach a $30 million debut. With DC Studios under Peter Safran and James Gunn’s newly minted leadership, “Shazam! 2” represents something of a holdover from a bygone regime at the comic book banner. While a movie like “The Flash” was also conceived before Safran and Gunn’s tenure, the two executive directors often declared their conviction about the quality of the upcoming Ezra Miller film. Talk about the “Shazam!” sequel has been much quieter.
The responses are also a step down from the resounding praise that greeted the original. “Fury of the Gods” currently holds a 26% approval rating from top critics on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes. The film earned a “B+” rating through analytics firm Cinema Score, indicating general approval among the first round of ticket buyers, but even that is a notable step down from the first film’s “A” grade.
Starring Zachary Levi, “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” sees Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and his foster siblings use their transformative powers to take on the Atlas Daughters, who threaten to destroy the world. Rachel Zegler, Adam Brody, Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren round out the film’s cast, with David F. Sandberg returning as director.
“Scream VI” looks set to slip to second place in its second outing, projecting a 60% drop from its impressive $44 million debut. Paramount and Spyglass Media’s self-labeled slasher “requel” looks set to earn $18 million this weekend, boosting its domestic total to a substantial $76.5 million. “Scream VI” continues to outperform its 2022 predecessor, which ended its theatrical run with $81 million in North America.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s “Creed III” is on track for bronze, projecting a $15.8 million gross for its third weekend of release. Michael B. Jordan’s boxing drama has held up remarkably well since its $58 million debut, a series high over “Rocky” and “Creed” movies. The domestic gross will push over $125 million through Sunday.
Columbia Pictures’ “65” is in fourth place, projecting $5.5 million in its second weekend of release. Sony’s sci-fi thriller, which stars Adam Driver as an astronaut stranded on prehistoric Earth, should push its domestic gross to an underwhelming $22 million after the weekend.
Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” rounds out the top five, adding $1.1 million on Friday. Now in its fifth weekend of release, the Disney release has pushed past the $200 million mark at the domestic box office. Whether the film will be able to match the $216 million that its 2018 predecessor made in North America remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, in its 52nd weekend of release, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” extended a victory lap for its best picture win at the Academy Awards last Sunday. The A24 comedy, now playing in 1,633 venues, looks set to add $1.1 million over the three days, taking its domestic gross to $75.4 million.