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

For the second time in a month, a mid-level comic series opened up to disappointment. “Shazam!: Fury of the Gods” (Warner Bros. Discovery) grossed $30.5 million domestically.

That’s more than 40 percent lower than the original DC Comics movie 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 an average of $210 per movie theater. At a reported production cost of $125 million before significant marketing costs, this is likely to lose money.

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WBD abandoned the film’s Christmas date, trading the potential for accelerated holiday interest with access to premium screens and spring break play. Smart strategy, but the payoff was still not there.

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

“John Wick: Chapter 4” – Credit: Lionsgate


The lackluster response slows down 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 opening this month (following strong performances by MGM’s “Creed III” and Paramount’s “Scream VI”), with opening expectations as high as $100 million.

This weekend, “Scream VI” is #2 and “Creed III” is #3. That film should exceed $150 million, while “Scream” will reach $100 million. In either case, it’s a significant improvement over the previous entry, and suggests that — comic book disappointments aside — the franchise still matters a lot.

With six sequels (including Christmas movies Disney’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” and Universal’s “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”) dominating the top 10, the weekend read $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 rolling four-week comparison with pre-Covid totals is 72 percent. If the improvement in 2023 holds, the year will reach 9.3 billion dollars.

In its second weekend, “65” (Sony) dropped 53 percent to No. 4. Other holdovers fell from 43 percent (“Quantumania”) to 14 percent for “Puss,” which thrives on 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 cracked the top 10 with $1.25 million for a total gross of $75 million. It also plays on all platforms including VOD and streaming via Showtime.

“Moving On” – Credit: Aaron Epstein

Aaron Epstein

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

After two weekends with no new grossing platform titles, we have more this week. Best was Philippe Garrel’s French film “The Innocent” (Janus), boosted by lead actor Louis Garrel in the theater at New York’s IFC Center. It’s expected to earn $11,500 this weekend ahead of a slow national rollout.

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; Accumulated: $30,500,000

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

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

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

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

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

$5,800,000 (-53%) in 3,405 (no change) theaters; PTA: $1,703; Total: $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; Total: $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; Total: $58,489,000

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

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

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

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

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

$1,928,000 (-27%) in 1,190 (-485) theaters; PTA: $1,620; Accumulated: $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; Total: $182,594,000

Other specialist titles

Films (limited, expansions of limited as well as price-oriented releases) are listed by week of release, starting with those that opened that week; after the first two weeks, only movies grossing over $5,000 are tracked.

Move 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

Dry longso (Janus) (reissue)

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

The quiet girl (Neon) Week 4

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

Return to Seoul (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5

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

Emily (Bleecker Street) Week 5

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

Live (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 13

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

The whale (A24) Week 15; also on VOD

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

Everything everywhere at once (A24) Week 52; also on PVOD

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

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