‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ $30 Million Opening Slows the Comic-Book Momentum

Source: IndieWire
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For the second time in a month, a mid-level comic book franchise opened to disappointment. “Shazam!: Fury of the Gods” (Warner Bros. Discovery) grossed $30.5 million in domestic sales.

That’s more than 40 percent down from the initial DC Comics film in 2019 (with ticket prices at least 15 percent lower). At $35 million, international territories were no better: China grossed $4.4 million in over 21,000 locations for less than a $210 per-theater average. At a reported production cost of $125 million before significant marketing costs, this will likely lose money.

WBD vacated the film’s Christmas date, trading the potential for accelerated holiday interest for access to premium screens and playing during spring vacation. Smart strategy, but the payoff still wasn’t there.

DC is not alone in this plight; Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” (Disney) struggles to reach $500 million worldwide (estimated budget $200 million, plus marketing). Don’t expect either character to return as more than part of an ensemble.

"John Wick: Chapter 4" Review: The best action movie since "Fury Road"

“John Wick: Chapter 4”


The lackluster response slows a decent March, but that momentum should return when “John Wick: Chapter 4” (Lionsgate) opens next weekend. It should be the biggest of the four sequels that open this month (after strong performances by MGM’s “Creed III” and Paramount’s “Scream VI”), with opening expectations as much as $100 million.

This weekend, “Scream VI” is #2 and “Creed III” is #3. That film should surpass $150 million, while “Scream” will reach $100 million. In both cases, that’s a significant improvement above the previous entry and suggests — comic-book disappointments aside — franchises still have heft.

With six sequels (including Christmas holdovers Disney’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” and Universal’s “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”) dominating the top 10, the weekend totaled $93 million. That’s down from $117 million last weekend, but up from $83 million last year.

Year-to-date is 28 percent better than last year. The four-week rolling comparison to pre-Covid totals is at 72 percent. If 2023 improvement holds, the year will reach $9.3 billion.

In its second weekend, “65” (Sony) dropped 53 percen to rank #4. Other holdovers fell from 43 percent (“Quantumania”) to 14 percent for “Puss,” which is thriving with the lack of alternatives for young children.

Record-setting Oscar winner “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24), now in its 52nd week of release, nearly made the top 10 with $1.25 million for $75 million total gross. It’s also playing on every platform including VOD and streaming via Showtime.

Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda in "Moving On"

“Moving On”

Aaron Epstein

“Moving On” (Roadside Attractions)  and “Inside” (Focus) — both with star appeal, aimed at older audiences, and receiving mixed reviews — saw mediocre results. “Moving On” reteams Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in a comedy that premiered at Toronto last September, months before their recent hit “80 for Brady.” It took in $797,000 in 735 theaters. “Inside,” a one-man thriller starring Willem Dafoe that debuted at Berlin, managed $470,000 in 357 theaters for a somewhat better per-theater performance.

After two weekends of no new platform titles that provided grosses, we have several this week. Best was Philippe Garrel’s French film “The Innocent” (Janus), boosted by in-theater appearance lead actor Louis Garrel at New York’s IFC Center. It is projected to do $11,500 this weekend ahead of a slow national rollout.

The Top 10 

1. Shazam!: Fury of the Gods (Warner Bros. Discovery) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 46; Est. budget: $125 million

$30,500,000 in 4,071 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $7,492; Cumulative: $30,500,000

2. Scream VI (Paramount) Week 2; Last weekend #1

$17,500,000 (-61%) in 3,676 (+1) theaters; PTA: $4,761; Cumulative: $76,029,000

3. Creed III (MGM) Week 3; Last weekend #2

$15,373,000 (-44%) in 3,477 (-530) theaters; PTA: $4,421; Cumulative: $127,700,000

4. 65 (Sony) Week 2; Last weekend #3

$5,800,000 (-53%) in 3,405 (no change) theaters; PTA: $1,703; Cumulative: $22,427,000

5. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (Disney) Week 5; Last weekend #4

$4,071,000  (-43%) in 2,650 (-455) theaters; PTA: $1,536; Cumulative: $205,833,000

6. Cocaine Bear (Universal) Week 4; Last weekend #5; also on PVOD

$3,870,000 (-38%) in 2,687 (-517) theaters; PTA: $1,440; Cumulative: $58,489,000

7. Jesus Revolution (Lionsgate) Week 4; Last weekend #6

$3,500,000 (-32%) in 2,354 (-165) theaters; PTA: $1,486; Cumulative: $45,540,000

8. Champions (Focus) Week 2; Last weekend #7

$3,003,000 (-41%) in 3,039 (+9) theaters; PTA: $997; Cumulative: $10,600,000

9. Avatar: The Way of Water (Disney) Week 14; Last weekend #8

$1,928,000 (-27%) in 1,190 (-485) theaters; PTA: $1,620; Cumulative: $678,114,000

10. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (Universal) Week 12; Last weekend #10; also on PVOD

$1,510,000 (-14%) in 1,735 (-81) theaters; PTA: $870; Cumulative: $182,594,000

Other Specialized titles

Films (limited, expansions of limited, as well as awards-oriented releases) are listed by week in release, starting with those opened this week; after the first two weeks, only films with grosses over $5,000 are tracked.

Moving On (Roadside Attractions) NEW – Metacritic: 59; Festivals include: Toronto 2022

$797,000 in 735 theaters; PTA: $1,004

Inside (Focus) NEW – Metacritic: 54; Festivals include: Berlin 2023

$470,000 in 357 theaters; PTA: $1,317

The Innocent (Janus) NEW – Metacritic: 69; Festivals include: Cannes 2022

$11,500 in 1 theater; PTA: $11,500

Rodeo (Music Box) NEW – Metacritic: 68; Festivals include: Cannes 2022

$4,984 in 2 theaters; PTA: $2,492

Drylongso (Janus) (reissue)

$5,111 in 1 theater; PTA: $5,111

The Quiet Girl (Neon) Week 4

$193,000 in 234  (-10) theaters; Cumulative: $962,690

Return to Seoul (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5

$65,169 in 40 (-3) theaters; Cumulative: $424,046

Emily (Bleecker Street) Week 5

$7,570 in 21 (-57) theaters; Cumulative: $1,089,000

Living (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 13

$28,482 in 61 (-60) theaters; Cumulative: $2,982,000

The Whale (A24) Week 15; also on VOD

$245,230 in  509 (+403) theaters;  Cumulative: $17,234,000

Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24) Week 52; also on PVOD

$1,249,000 in  1,633 (+1,049) theaters; Cumulative: $75,584,000

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