Warner Bros. has plenty of material, both in theaters and on HBO Max, to look forward to within the DC Extended Universe over the next couple of years. Fans are getting a wealth of information from early production on Leslie Grace's Batgirl, releasing on HBO Max, while major films like The Flash and Shazam!: Fury of the Gods are set to debut in theaters between late 2022 and mid-2023.
Shazam! 2, in particular, is quickly gaining hype thanks to leading man Zachary Levi's outstanding performance in 2019's Shazam!, which succeeded critically even though its box office earnings left much to be desired. Combine his efforts with industry legends Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu joining the sequel in villainous roles, and the stage is set for a special outing within the DCEU.
Following in the MCU's footsteps, the DCEU is taking a dual approach to its release schedule with movie theaters and HBO Max, even releasing full movies like Batgirl on the streaming platform instead of just episodic series like Peacemaker. However, when asked if the streaming debut was an option for the Shazam! sequel, its director wasn't exactly...on board with the idea.
Shazam! Director References Futurama with HBO Max Response
Shazam!: Fury of the Gods director David F. Sandberg took to Twitter to share his thoughts on a potential HBO Max release for his 2023 sequel.
Twitter user @ViewerAnon shared a theory about DC's upcoming slate being somewhat in a "logjam" due to being so dependent on the events from The Flash, which tie into both Batgirl and the Shazam! sequel:
"WB’s DC slate is in a logjam because it’s so FLASH dependent. BATGIRL doesn’t make sense without FLASH and I’ve heard SHAZAM 2 makes minor reference to it (or at least my source thought it was a reference to FLASH)."
The Twitter user continued to give their own idea about switching around the release schedule so that Fury of the Gods would release between The Flash and Batgirl. However, this theory puts the Shazam! sequel in place for an exclusive release on HBO Max instead of in theaters and pushes Batgirl to the big screen:
"I think it would be smart (and this is just me, not based on any tips or scoops) to schedule something like: THE FLASH (Nov) - SHAZAM 2 (Dec/HBO Max) - BATGIRL (March ‘23) - AQUAMAN 2 (May/June ‘23)"
Explaining the theory further, they feel that Batgirl could benefit more from a theatrical release financially than Shazam 2 would based on the original movie's lackluster box office returns:
"I think based on potential BATGIRL upside with Keaton and SHAZAM 1’s OK box office and big sequel gap, SHAZAM 2 might benefit more from a “free” streaming release and BATGIRL could open higher."
Responding to this idea, Sandberg wasn't pleased, as he simply sent the classic GIF of Philip J. Fry from Futurama squinting in disbelief:
January 10, 2022
Sangberg Not For Shazam! HBO Max Debut
Yes, Batgirl is gaining a substantial amount of hype thanks to Michael Keaton's reported involvement and the introduction of a new character in the Batman legacy for the DCEU. And yes, it will be interesting to see how exactly the film performs on HBO Max rather than playing in the theatrical settings that superhero movies like this are used to.
However, even if Sandberg supports that route for Batgirl, it's abundantly clear that he doesn't want it to be at the expense of a classic theatrical run for his own movie.
After his work with Levi on the first movie, Sandberg has the chance to go bigger and hopefully better with his 2023 sequel, which brings together a massive cast of characters as Billy Batson's story as a hero advances. Bringing his sense of humor into play, the director lets the Twitter world know that he's still intent on his movie not starting off in a streaming setting if he has anything to say about it.
As the DCEU starts its 2022 slate, fans will be paying close attention to how these HBO Max releases perform alongside their big-screen counterparts. Although it should help the franchise add to its cache of thrilling storytelling, the Shazam! sequel is still set to make its mark on the big screen, and Sandberg will be behind that notion every step of the way.
Shazam!: Fury of the Gods is set to release in theaters on May 2, 2023.