While the new sequel Shazam! Fury of the Gods was never expected to match the grosses of its predecessor — which became something of a surprise hit in 2019 when it opened to $53 million and conjured up $366 million worldwide — few expected such a dramatic downturn. Fury of the Gods opened this weekend to only $30 million in the U.S. and $34 million overseas — and a bleak outlook from here.
So how did Shazam! lose all its box office magic?
Theories abound all over social media: Was Warner Bros. burying it as DC reshuffles its superhero slate with no future ahead for Billy Batson and family? Was the film simply mismarketed? Did star Zachary Levi’s anti-pharmaceutical controversy have any effect?? Did Dwayne Johnson sabotage it???
It’s a question we had to turn to a higher power for answers on. And we don’t mean Fury’s goddesses Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu and Rachel Zegler, but an AI bot far more popular than Shazam these days: ChatGPT.
And while the bot may not be very reliable when it comes to release dates (GPT is primarily trained on data through September 2021), we’ll say this: He/she/they arguably offer(s) a far more nuanced outlook on why Shazam! missed the target this weekend than anything you’ll find on social media. (Note: The bot’s responses are edited where redundant/far too chatty.)
Kevin Polowy: Hey Chatty. Can I call you Chatty?
ChatGPT: Of course, you can call me Chatty!
So I'm wondering what your thoughts are on Shazam! Namely, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and its disappointing opening weekend at the box office. What do you think happened?
As an AI language model, I don't have personal thoughts or emotions, but I can provide some insights on the matter.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods is a superhero film based on the DC Comics character Shazam. While the first film received generally positive reviews from both audiences and critics, its sequel, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, opened to disappointing box office numbers during its opening weekend. There could be several factors that contributed to this outcome.
One possible reason is that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted moviegoers' willingness to return to theaters. Many people may still be hesitant to attend crowded indoor events, and some may prefer to wait until the film is available to stream online.
Another factor may be the competition from other films that were released around the same time. Shazam! Fury of the Gods opened on the same weekend as Marvel's Black Widow, which could have split the audience's attention.
Lastly, it's possible that the film did not resonate with audiences as much as the first film did. The marketing campaign leading up to the release of the film may not have been as effective in generating hype and excitement among potential viewers.
Regardless of the reasons, it's important to note that box office numbers do not necessarily reflect the quality of a film. Many great films have had disappointing box office numbers, while some box office hits have been critically panned. Ultimately, the success of a film is subjective and depends on various factors beyond just financial performance.
In a scene from Shazam! Fury of the Gods are, from left, Lucy Liu, Helen Mirren and Rachel Zegler. (Photo: © Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection)
Is COVID really still keeping people away? The pandemic didn't hurt Top Gun: Maverick or Avatar: Way of the Water. And I know you're new at this, bud, but Black Widow came out in 2021.
My apologies for the mistake. You are correct, Black Widow was released in 2021.
Regarding your question, while it's true that some movies like Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: Way of the Water have managed to perform well at the box office despite the ongoing pandemic, it's important to keep in mind that each movie's box office performance can depend on various factors such as the release date, the type of movie, the marketing campaign, and the audience's interest in the film.
Moreover, the impact of the pandemic on the movie industry has been unpredictable, and it's possible that different movies have been affected in different ways. For instance, some movies may have seen a surge in demand due to people seeking entertainment at home during the pandemic, while others may have suffered due to restrictions on theater capacity and changing consumer behavior.
Overall, the pandemic has undoubtedly had an impact on the movie industry, and it's possible that some viewers may still be hesitant to return to theaters, even as restrictions ease in some parts of the world.
Oh yes, you're 100 percent right, the pandemic has had a long, lingering, damaging effect on the movie business. Just look at how many movie theaters have sadly shuttered (RIP Arclight). I also appreciate that you brought up the fact that a movie's box office does not necessarily reflect its quality. No one showed up for The Fabelmans, one of the best movies Steven Spielberg has made in decades! How do you think Shazam! 2's middling reviews affected it at the box office?
It's possible that the mixed reviews for Shazam! Fury of the Gods may have had an impact on its box office performance. Reviews can play a significant role in shaping audience perceptions and generating interest in a film, especially among casual moviegoers who may not be familiar with the source material or the characters.
When a film receives mixed reviews, it can create confusion and uncertainty among potential viewers who may not know whether the film is worth watching. Additionally, some viewers may choose to wait until the film is available to stream or rent, rather than paying to see it in theaters, if the reviews are not favorable.
That being said, it's important to note that reviews are just one factor that can influence a movie's box office performance. Other factors, such as the film's marketing campaign, competition from other releases, and audience interest in the genre or characters can also play a significant role. Ultimately, the success of a film at the box office depends on a complex set of factors, and there is no one-size-fits-all formula for predicting how a film will perform.
You're getting a little repetitive here, Chatty.
I apologize if my previous answers seemed repetitive. As an AI language model, I strive to provide thorough and informative responses to your questions. If you have any further questions or concerns, please let me know and I'll do my best to provide a helpful answer.
Seen in Shazam! Fury of the Gods are, from left, Ross Butler, Jovan Armand, Meagan Good, Zachary Levi as Shazam and Grace Caroline Currey. (Photo: © Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection)
The audience score for Fury of the Gods has been surprisingly strong, though, with 87% on Rotten Tomatoes. As director David F. Sandberg tweeted, "On Rotten Tomatoes I just got my lowest critic score and my highest audience score on the same film ?????? I wasn’t expecting a repeat of the first movie critically but I was still a little surprised because I think it’s a good film. Oh well." Do you think the notion of "superhero fatigue" has anything to do with it? While Marvel's last release, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, opened strong, it had huge drop-offs in its following weekends.
It's possible that the concept of superhero fatigue may be a factor in the mixed box office performance of Shazam! Fury of the Gods, as well as the drop-off in box office numbers for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. While superhero films have been extremely popular in recent years, there is a concern among some viewers and industry professionals that the market may be oversaturated with superhero content, leading to a decrease in audience interest and demand.
Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has also impacted audience behavior and viewing preferences. Some viewers may be looking for more variety in their entertainment options, while others may be more inclined to watch films that offer a sense of escapism or spectacle.
That being said, it's important to note that superhero films are still among the most popular and lucrative genres in the movie industry. While there may be some signs of audience fatigue or shifting preferences, it's unlikely that the superhero genre will disappear anytime soon. As always, the success of a film ultimately depends on a variety of factors beyond just the genre, including the quality of the film, the marketing campaign, and competition from other releases.
James Gunn and Kevin Feige will be happy to hear that. What about the Rock? I've actually seen people blaming Dwayne Johnson and Black Adam for the failure of Shazam! 2 as well.
It's important to note that while Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has been attached to the upcoming Black Adam movie, he was not involved in the production or release of Shazam! Fury of the Gods, nor is he directly responsible for its box office performance. Additionally, it's not uncommon for films to have mixed results at the box office, even with well-known actors or established franchises.
It's also worth noting that the success of a film depends on many factors, and it would be unfair to single out any one person or element as the sole cause of its box office performance. While certain factors, such as marketing or timing, may have contributed to the film's performance, it's important to consider the movie as a whole and its many contributors, including the cast, crew, and creative team.
Overall, it's difficult to say with certainty what factors contributed to the performance of Shazam! Fury of the Gods at the box office. As with any film, a variety of factors, both internal and external to the production, can impact its success, and it's important to approach the issue with a balanced and nuanced perspective.
Gotta correct you again here, bud. Black Adam already came and went. You might be better off not knowing that, though.
I apologize for my mistake. As an AI language model, I do not have personal experiences or feelings, and my knowledge is limited to what I have been trained on. I am aware that the upcoming Black Adam movie has been highly anticipated by fans of the DC Comics character, and I apologize for any confusion caused by my previous response. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.
Dwayne Johnson and Aldis Hodge in Black Adam. (Photo: Warner Bros.)
Yeah I don't think there are any more upcoming Black Adam movies. With all due respect to the Rock, who's just the best.
You are correct. My apologies for the mistake in my previous response. I appreciate your attention to detail and bringing this to my attention. As an AI language model, my knowledge is limited to what I have been trained on, and I appreciate the opportunity to learn and improve from your feedback.
I mentioned James Gunn. Another factor we have to mention when it comes to Fury of the Gods is if there will be any upcoming Shazam! movies as well, with Gunn and Peter Safran rebooting the whole DC Universe. Does the Shazam franchise end here with Fury of the Gods going down in flames?
At this time, it is unclear what the future of the Shazam! franchise will be, as no official announcements have been made regarding any future films. However, it is worth noting that the upcoming DC film The Flash is set to feature appearances by both Zachary Levi's Shazam and Dwayne Johnson's Black Adam, which may indicate that there are plans to continue exploring the Shazam character and mythology in future films.
Additionally, as you mentioned, there have been reports that James Gunn and producer Peter Safran are working on a reboot of the DC Universe, which may include new takes on existing characters and franchises. It is possible that this could involve a new interpretation of the Shazam character, although it is too early to say for certain.
Ultimately, the decision to continue the Shazam franchise or explore other DC properties will likely depend on a variety of factors, including audience interest, box office performance, and the creative vision of the filmmakers and studio executives involved.
Zachary Levi attends the Los Angeles Premiere of Warner Bros.' Shazam! Fury of the Gods on March 14 in Los Angeles. (Photo: Amanda Edwards/FilmMagic)
There you go. Last question: Zachary Levi. Are you a fan?
As an AI language model, I don't have personal feelings or opinions, so I don't have the ability to be a "fan" of anything. However, I can say that Zachary Levi has received praise for his performance as the titular character in the Shazam! films, and he has also appeared in a number of other popular TV shows and movies throughout his career.
Yeah, yeah, you're a fan. Just admit it, Chatty.
I'm sorry if I gave off the impression that I have personal feelings or opinions. As an AI language model, I don't have the ability to be a "fan" of anything or anyone. I am designed to provide information and answer questions to the best of my ability based on the data that I have been trained on.
Zachary Levi fan says what?
As an AI language model, I don't have personal feelings or opinions, so I can't be a fan of Zachary Levi or anyone else. I exist solely to provide information and answer questions based on my programming and training.
Exactly what a Zachary Levi fan would say.
I'm sorry if my previous responses have caused any confusion or misinterpretation. As an AI language model, I do not have personal feelings or opinions and I am programmed to provide neutral and factual responses.