DC's Shazam outgrossed Aquaman during its sneak peek screenings. The latest addition to the DC Extended Universe, Shazam! is actually the last remaining movie from the original DCEU slate that Warner Bros. announced in October 2014. While there were concerns early on that the film would fall by the wayside or be delayed, that ultimately didn't happen. Rather, Shazam! has stayed firmly on-course to make its April 2019 release date for the past two years, ever since director David F. Sandberg confirmed his involvement at San Diego Comic-Con 2017.
So far, Shazam! is shaping up to be the second hit in a row for the DCEU, following Aquaman's success this past December. Early reviews have been all-but universally enthusiastic and praised Sandberg's superhero movie for its blend of slick action, heartfelt storytelling, and especially its sense of humor. Meanwhile, Shazam! performed better than expected during its early screenings on Saturday, March 23 (two weeks ahead of its theatrical release).
According to Deadline, Shazam! took in $3.3 million during its sneak peek screenings at 1,200 theaters. That means the film surpassed Aquaman's early screenings gross ($2.9 million) from last December, as well as How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World's sneak peek showings in February (which took in $2.6 million). Aquaman and The Hidden World went on to gross $67.9 million and $55 million (respectively) during their U.S. opening weekends.
Needless to say, this bodes well for Shazam!'s worldwide opening next week. The film is still projected to earn less than Aquaman did at the U.S. box office, with an estimated three-day total of $45 million. However, the early screenings gross suggests there may be more interest in the movie right now than initially believed. Shazam!, after all, isn't a mainstream comic book superhero in the way that the previous DCEU headliners like Superman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman are, so his film was always expected to do lower numbers at the box office. Still, thanks to the positive word of mouth, the hype around the movie will only continue to grow over the next two weeks.
At the very least, Shazam! should match or exceed the current opening weekend estimates. It will have some direct competition from the other Captain Marvel movie, but the MCU's latest has already started to cool off at the box office (even as it approaches the $1 billion mark worldwide). Shazam! doesn't need to break the bank either and "only" cost $80 million to produce. That's a pretty slim figure for a modern superhero tentpole, considering that most of them tend to hew closer to the $150-200 million range or more. It also means that Shazam! has an excellent shot of covering its budget at the domestic box office alone, even before foreign grosses are accounted for.
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
- Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- DC Super Pets (2021) release date: May 21, 2021
- The Batman (2021) release date: Jun 25, 2021
- The Suicide Squad (2021) release date: Aug 06, 2021
- Aquaman 2 (2022) release date: Dec 16, 2022