“Shazam! Fury of the Gods” is thundering to a No. 1 opening at the box office, though the DC Comics adaptation is expected to fly in lower than its predecessor.
“Fury of the Gods” grossed $11.7 million in opening day ticket sales, a figure that includes $3.4 million in Thursday previews. That’s almost half of the $20.3 million that the 2019 original earned in its first day of release, on its way to a $53 million bow. “Fury of the Gods” carries a production budget of $125 million, which is $25 million higher than its predecessor’s.
Opening in 4,071 theaters, the superhero sequel will likely struggle to reach a $30 million debut. With DC Studios under the newly minted leadership of Peter Safran and James Gunn, “Shazam! 2” represents somewhat of a relic from a bygone regime at the comic book banner. While a film like “The Flash” was also conceived before Safran and Gunn’s tenure, the pair of CEOs have often declared their conviction in the quality of the upcoming Ezra Miller film. Chatter around the “Shazam!” sequel has been much quieter.
Responses are also a step down from the resounding praise that met the original. “Fury of the Gods” currently carries a 26% approval rating from top critics on review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes. The film did earn a “B+” rating through research firm Cinema Score, indicating general approval among the first round of ticket buyers, but even that is a notable degree down from the first film’s “A” grade.
Starring Zachary Levi, “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” sees Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and his foster siblings using their transformative powers to take on the Daughters of Atlas, who threaten to destroy the world. Rachel Zegler, Adam Brody, Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren round out the film’s cast. David F. Sandberg returns as director.
“Scream VI” looks to slide to second place in its sophomore outing, projecting a 60% tumble from its impressive $44 million debut. Paramount and Spyglass Media’s self-branded slasher “requel” looks to earn $18 million this weekend, boosting its domestic total to a substantial $76.5 million. “Scream VI” continues to outperform its 2022 predecessor, which finished its theatrical run with $81 million in North America.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s “Creed III” is headed for bronze, projecting a $15.8 million gross for its third weekend of release. Michael B. Jordan’s boxing drama has held remarkably well since its $58 million debut, a series-high across “Rocky” and “Creed” movies. The domestic gross will push beyond $125 million through Sunday.
Columbia Pictures’ “65” finds itself in fourth place, projecting $5.5 million in its second weekend of release. Sony’s sci-fi thriller, which sees Adam Driver star as a space explorer stranded on prehistoric Earth, should push its domestic gross to an underwhelming $22 million after the weekend.
Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” rounds out the top five, adding $1.1 million on Friday. Now in its fifth weekend of release, the Disney release has pushed beyond the $200 million mark at the domestic box office. Whether the film will be able to match the $216 million haul that its 2018 predecessor made in North America remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” expanded in its 52nd weekend of release as a victory lap for its best picture win at the Academy Awards last Sunday. Now playing in 1,633 venues, the A24 comedy looks to add $1.1 million over the three-day frame, padding its domestic gross to $75.4 million.