The latest superhero movie from DC Comics, âShazam!â, soared to the top of the box office charts with a $53 million debut in North America, according to studio estimates on Sunday.
The film, which stars Zachary Levi as the titular hero, a teenage boy who can transform into an adult superhero by saying the magic word \"Shazam\", received positive reviews from critics and audiences alike, who praised its humor, heart and action.
âShazam!â also earned $102 million from 79 international markets, bringing its global total to $155 million. The film cost about $100 million to produce, making it one of the most modestly budgeted superhero movies in recent years.
\"It's a movie that appeals to a broad range of audiences,\" said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros.' president of domestic distribution. \"It's not just a superhero movie. It's a story about family and friendship and the power of believing in yourself.\"
âShazam!â is the seventh installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), a series of interconnected films based on DC Comics characters. The film is a departure from the darker and more serious tone of previous DCEU movies, such as âBatman v Superman: Dawn of Justiceâ and âJustice Leagueâ, and follows the success of last year's âAquamanâ, which grossed over $1 billion worldwide.
\"We're thrilled with the outcome,\" said Toby Emmerich, Warner Bros.' chairman. \"David F. Sandberg and our stellar cast have delivered a game-changing superhero for the DC universe.\"
âShazam!â faces competition from another superhero movie next weekend, when Marvel Studios' highly anticipated âAvengers: Endgameâ opens in theaters. The film is expected to break box office records and conclude the epic saga of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
\"We're not worried about âAvengersâ,\" Goldstein said. \"There's room for more than one superhero movie in the marketplace.\"
âShazam!â features a diverse and talented cast of actors, led by Zachary Levi as the charismatic and childlike superhero. Levi, best known for his roles in âChuckâ and âThor: The Dark Worldâ, said he was thrilled to play a character who is \"basically a 14-year-old kid in a superman body\".
\"It's such a joyous wish fulfillment. It's like âBigâ meets âSupermanâ,\" Levi said in an interview. \"I think we all have that inner child who wants to be a superhero and fly and shoot lightning out of our hands.\"
The film also stars Asher Angel as Billy Batson, the foster kid who is chosen by the ancient wizard Shazam (Djimon Hounsou) to be his new champion. Angel, who rose to fame on the Disney Channel series âAndi Mackâ, said he was honored to be part of the DC universe and to work with Levi.
\"He's such a great guy and a great actor. He really helped me a lot with the character and the transition,\" Angel said. \"We had so much fun on set. We were always cracking jokes and making each other laugh.\"
Jack Dylan Grazer plays Freddy Freeman, Billy's foster brother and best friend, who helps him navigate his new powers and identity. Grazer, who previously starred in âItâ and âIt Chapter Twoâ, said he enjoyed the comedic aspects of the film and the chemistry with his co-stars.
\"It was a blast. We had such a great dynamic. We were always improvising and bouncing off each other,\" Grazer said. \"I think the humor really sets this film apart from other superhero movies. It's not too dark or too serious. It's just fun and funny.\"
Mark Strong plays the villainous Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, a scientist who seeks to steal Shazam's powers and unleash the Seven Deadly Sins upon the world. Strong, who has played villains in several films, including âSherlock Holmesâ and âKingsman: The Secret Serviceâ, said he was drawn to the role by the contrast between his character and Shazam.
\"I think it's interesting that they're both chosen by the wizard, but for different reasons. One is pure of heart and one is corrupted by envy,\" Strong said. \"I think that creates a great conflict and a great motivation for Sivana.\" aa16f39245