This past weekend was a tough one for Zachary Levi, as his latest film “Shazam!: Fury of the Gods” was released by Warner Bros. and New Line and sunk to a $30.5 million box office opening, a big drop from the $53.5 million launch that the first “Shazam!” made four years ago.
Levi, who is very interactive with his fans on Twitter, responded to some tweets sent his way about the struggles his sequel is facing and felt that the marketing campaign that Warner Bros. put forth for “Shazam 2” didn’t help.
“This is a perfect family movie, and yet a lot of families aren’t aware of that. Which is just a shame,” Levi tweeted tuesday.
Family turnout was a major reason for the success of the first “Shazam!,” which grossed $365 million at the global box office in 2019. The film’s story of orphaned teenager Billy Batson becoming a superhero and getting guidance from a superhero-loving foster home Companion won over audiences with its light-hearted antics between the protagonists and its heartwarming family message.
But “Shazam!: Fury of the Gods” hasn’t had the same strong reception, with a tepid 53% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes. While the sequel features Billy fighting a new supernatural threat alongside his group home siblings who all now share in his superpowers, the film’s trailers only featured a few group shots of Shazam alongside his adopted family, focusing more on the hero fighting the villainous Daughters of Atlas on his own.
Another likely factor in the box office struggles is the ongoing reboot being planned by new DC Studios heads James Gunn and Peter Safran for a launch in 2025. That reboot has left DC’s films greenlit by the studio’s previous leadership — with the possible exception of “The Flash” — feeling to many moviegoers like lingering remnants from a blockbuster saga that is no longer continuing.
The direction of DC’s future has been hotly contested among its fans, with supporters of director Zack Snyder and his HBO Max-released version of “Justice League” still carrying the torch. During his tweet exchanges with his followers, Levi said that he had “no issue with Snyder fans” and that he had seen many of the filmmaker’s DC blockbusters.
But when one follower remarked that some Snyder fans were rooting for “Shazam 2” to fail at the box office because of Warner Bros.’ decision to reboot DC, the actor said that was “sad but true.”
“My issue is with anyone who wishes to destroy something, simply because it’s not what they want. That comes from hate, not love,” Levi tweeted.