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Shazam! projected to zap up a $40 million opening weekend at the box office

By Benjamin Bullard
Zachary Levi in Shazam!

He may not carry quite the crackle of his newer Marvel counterpart, but the other Captain Marvel, Shazam!, is still tracking to strike the box office with a pretty decent-sized lightning bolt. 

Ahead of next month’s newest entry in DC’s increasingly diverse superhero pantheon, early analysis suggests Billy Batson’s goofier, funnier take on larger-than-life superpowers could debut to a $40 million opening weekend for Warner Bros. and DC, according to Variety.

With Aquaman, DC’s last film, soaking up more than $67 million in its premiere weekend, Shazam! isn’t likely to break any box office records (or come anywhere near them) when it opens against the Pet Sematary remake and civil rights drama The Best of Enemies in early April. 

But, as the report notes, Shazam! also cost a lot less to make than bigger-budget movies that have featured more mainstream DC heroes. It reportedly cost around $80 million to make, which means it doesn’t need to lasso the kind of numbers that films like Wonder Woman ($103 million) and The Dark Knight ($108 million) managed in their debut weekends.

Add to that the extremely positive early word-of-mouth that’s spilled from critics who previewed Shazam! last week, and it’s possible that DC may have landed on a bankable new character revival to add to its growing roster of distinctive heroes. The early buzz around the movie's fish-out-of-water, literal learning-to-fly story is that it’s genuinely funny, has tons of heart, and reminds more than one reviewer of Big — another soft-hearted movie about a kid who’s magically granted outsized abilities.

With Captain Marvel a hit, and Avengers: Endgame just a month away, comic book stories look to be an electric jump start at the spring box office. Fandango and Warner Bros. have even teamed up to give Shazam! an early spark, thanks to a March 23 first look coming to 1,200 U.S. theaters. If you’ve missed out on tickets to that sneak peek, though, the wait won’t be too long: Asher Angel (young Billy Batson) and Zachary Levi (‘Sup! I’m a Superhero!) will come bounding into theaters nationwide when Shazam! opens everywhere on April 5.