After one of the worst starts at the box office ($30 million domestic opening weekend) in DCEU history, Shazam! Fury of the Gods was never able to gain popularity among moviegoers.
Zachary Levi returned as Billy Batson, aka Shazam, in March for Shazam 2. It came as no surprise when a sequel was approved after the understated hit, 2018's Shazam!, earned $363 million worldwide with a budget of under $90 million.
However, a lot has changed since that initial green light. 2022 was a definitive year for DC movies under Warner Bros.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's Black Adam film was released, featuring an exciting, confusing, and out-of-touch post-credits scene featuring Henry Cavill as Superman.
Balance has been brought to DC (seemingly) as producer Peter Safran and writer/director James Gunn are heading the new DC Studios that will take off with the animated series Creature Commandos and the high-anticipated Superman: Legacy.
A clear lack of direction within this cinematic universe, mixed with poor reception from Black Adam seemingly played into an overall lack of interest in Shazam 2.
Shazam 2 is the DCEU's Lowest-Earning Movie
So how badly did Fury of the Gods truly perform?
Bottoming out of a forgetful box office run, Shazam! Fury of the Gods has earned $133.4 million worldwide. This marks the lowest-grossing film in the DCEU's history since kicking off in 2013.
Not only did it earn over $200 million less than its predecessor, but it was also out-grossed by two films that were released day-and-date on HBO Max during the COVID-19 pandemic (Wonder Woman 1984 & The Suicide Squad).
Warner Bros. certainly isn't happy to see this result, but Shazam 2 was never set up for success and in many ways, the studio is treading water at the box office before James Gunn's DC Universe begins.
Why Did Shazam 2 Bomb at the Box Office?
One thing that has changed about comic book movies over the past decade is that audiences don't only go into a film expecting to have a fun experience, but anticipated connections to other movies and characters.
Shazam 2 by all means is a standalone sequel to its 2018 original. The connections to the DCEU are loose and mainly revolve around a headless Superman cameo during the first film's post-credits scene.
Continuity is a major element of these movies and is a key reason why Marvel Studios became so successful during the 2010s and beyond.
In a mind-boggling decision, Black Adam, Shazam's main antagonist from the comics, had an origin movie release a mere months before the Shazam! sequel, yet the two films are completely disconnected from one another.
If Kevin Feige wrote a cinematic universe manual, that execution would probably fall under the "What Not To Do" list.
When considering that the film was a step down from the original, wasn't consequential to the past, present, or future DC universe, and revolves around a (quite frankly) forgettable character, this is the result the studio gets.
There is hope for the rest of the 2023 DC slate, The Flash has gotten positive reviews and reactions, Blue Beetle is a low-risk sleeper, and Jason Mamoa could still carry the gravitas to make Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom a commercial success.
The simple truth is Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav isn't going to lose sleep over Shazam! 2 bombing, as all of his chips are on James Gunn's Superman: Legacy and all other future projects after 2023.
Shazam: Fury of the Gods will be available to stream on Max on May 23.