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“Shazam! Fury of the Gods” thunders 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, including $3.4 million in Thursday previews. That’s nearly half of the $20.3 million the 2019 original made on its first day of release, en route to a $53 million arc. “Fury of the Gods” has a production budget of $125 million, which is $25 million higher than that of its predecessor.
The superhero sequel, which will open in 4,071 theaters, 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 a bit of a relic of a bygone regime on the comic book banner. Although a movie like “The Flash” was also conceived before Safran and Gunn’s tenure, the two CEOs have often stated that they are convinced of the quality of the upcoming Ezra Miller movie. Chat around the “Shazam!” follow-up has been much quieter.
Reactions are also a step back from the resounding praise that met the original. “Fury of the Gods” currently holds a 26% approval rating from top critics on the aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes. The film did receive a “B+” rating from research firm Cinema Score, indicating general approval among the first round of ticket buyers, but even that is a notable grade lower than the first film’s “A” rating.
Starring Zachary Levi, “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” sees Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and his foster siblings use 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 into second place in its second outing, dropping 60% from its impressive $44 million debut. Paramount and Spyglass Media’s self-branded slasher “requel” looks set to make $18 million this weekend, bringing its domestic total to a substantial $76.5 million. “Scream VI” continues to outperform its 2022 predecessor, which ended its theatrical run with $81 million in North America.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s “Creed III” is on track for bronze, grossing $15.8 million for its third weekend of release. Michael B. Jordan’s boxing drama has held up remarkably well since its $58 million debut, a record among the “Rocky” and “Creed” series of films. The domestic gross will exceed $125 million through Sunday.
Columbia Pictures’ “65” ranks fourth, with an expected $5.5 million in its second weekend of release. Sony’s sci-fi thriller, which stars Adam Driver as a space explorer stranded on prehistoric Earth, should boost its domestic gross to a disappointing $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 on its fifth weekend of release, the Disney release has crossed the $200 million mark at the domestic box office. Whether the film will be able to match the $216 million its 2018 predecessor made in North America remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” expanded into its 52nd weekend of release as a runway win for best picture at the Academy Awards last Sunday. Now playing in 1,633 locations, the A24 comedy looks set to add $1.1 million over its three-day frame, boosting its domestic gross to $75.4 million.