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“Shazam! Fury of the Gods” is thundering down the No. 1 opening at the box office, though the DC Comics adaptation is expected to fly lower than its predecessor.
“Fury of the Gods” grossed $11.7 million in opening day ticket sales, a number that includes $3.4 million in Thursday previews. That’s almost half of the $20.3 million the 2019 original earned on its first day of release, en route to a bow of $53 million. “Fury of the Gods” has a production budget of $125 million, $25 million more than its predecessor.
The superhero sequel, set to open in 4,071 theaters, will likely struggle to make a $30 million debut. With DC Studios under the new leadership of Peter Safran and James Gunn, “Shazam! 2” represents something of a relic of a bygone regime in the comic book banner. While a movie like “The Flash” was also conceived before Safran and Gunn took office, the CEO couple have often stated their belief in the quality of Ezra Miller’s next film. Talk around the “Shazam!” The sequel has been much quieter.
The responses are also a step below the resounding praise the original received. “Fury of the Gods” currently has a 26% approval rating from top critics on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. The film earned a “B+” grade through research firm Cinema Score, indicating overall approval among the first round of ticket buyers, but even that’s a notable grade below the “A” rating from the first film.
Starring Zachary Levi, “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” sees Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and his foster siblings using their transforming powers to take on the Daughters of Atlas, who threaten to destroy the world. Rachel Zegler, Adam Brody, Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren complete the cast of the film. David F. Sandberg returns as director.
“Scream VI” looks to slip into second place in its second outing, projecting a 60% drop from its impressive $44 million debut. Paramount and Spyglass Media’s own-brand slasher “requel” appears to earn $18 million this weekend, boosting its domestic total to $76.5 million. “Scream VI” continues to outpace its 2022 predecessor, which finished its theatrical run with $81 million in North America.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s “Creed III” is heading for bronze, projecting a gross of $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 series record on the movies “Rocky” and “Creed.” The domestic gross will exceed $125 million through Sunday.
Columbia Pictures’ “65” is in fourth place, projecting $5.5 million in its second weekend of release. Sony’s sci-fi thriller, in which Adam Driver stars as a space explorer stranded on prehistoric Earth, should boost its domestic take to a disappointing $22 million after the weekend.
Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” rounds out the top five, bringing in $1.1 million on Friday. Now in its fifth opening weekend, the Disney release has passed the $200 million mark at the domestic box office. Whether the film will be able to match the $216 million gross that its 2018 predecessor did in North America remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” expanded on its 52nd weekend of release as a victory lap for its best picture win at the Academy Awards last Sunday. The A24 comedy, now playing in 1,633 venues, is looking to add $1.1 million over the three-day frame, boosting its domestic gross to $75.4 million.