The DC Extended Universe has taken a beating in 2016. After polarizing to negative reviews for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, fans have become skeptical for the future of the upcoming nine films in the franchise. One of these is Shazam! Scheduled for release on April 5, 2019, the movie will focus on the famous boy-turned-superhero Billy Batson a.k.a. Shazam.
Aside from Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson starring as Black Adam, it being written by Darren Lemke (Jack the Giant Slayer) and produced by Dany Garcia, not much is known about the upcoming film. Much speculation has been swirling around whether or not Shazam! would exist in the DC Extended Universe. Now, we know for sure. Speaking to Newsweek, Dany Garcia talked about the upcoming project:
“Shazam! is to live in the same world [as the other films] but we have incredible autonomy over this brand and franchise. We are working with a different team, different producers, directors… it’s a different set-up. We don’t feel fettered by, or constrained by, the successes or failures and challenges of the other projects. That was a key component to our participation—that we be able to control the tone and the voice, and do it the way we want to.”
Now that we know for sure that Shazam! exists in the DCEU, should we expect a lot of crossover points between this film and other franchises, like 2017's Justice League? Garcia revealed this:
“It needs to be of the world. You’ve got Justice League, Wonder Woman with a different director, so you’re going to see different points of view. I think by the time we land with Shazam! we’ll fit nicely within the world that’s been created, but not such a shorthand relationship. It’ll be enough that people say, ‘Oh, this is within the family,’ but the culture will be a little different.”
The producer also gave an update on the project:
“We’re getting drafts in… it’s important to make sure we get the tone right for Black Adam, which is Dwayne’s part. We don’t mind taking our time. We’re being very careful with each act and scene to go back and layer in as much as possible. We’ve got so many wonderful superhero franchises out there… we don’t need to run away from them and say ‘we can’t be that,’ but it’s important to understand what are the best aspects of a Batman versus Avengers versus Deadpool? What are the elements people are responding to? We want to move the needle.”
While getting more information on Shazam! - a film that has been surrounded in mystery since even before its official announcement - is great, there's still something to consider:
Shazam! Is A Big Risk For The DC Extended Universe
The DC Extended Universe has Wonder Woman, Justice League, The Flash and Aquaman before Shazam! hits theaters in 2019. A recent trend that has become standard after bad critical reception is calling movies like Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad projects "for the fans." Unfortunately, that statement doesn't help much when it comes to box office numbers.
During its second weekend, Batman V Superman experienced an uncommon decline in earnings and much of that had to do with its critical reception. Most recently, after Suicide Squad's less than stellar reception, the film witnessed a 67% drop in its box office in just its second week, even with the justification of being for the fans. So, what if upcoming DCEU films like Wonder Woman and Justice League continue down the path of bad critical reception?
- 'Suicide Squad' Box Office Reveals Challenges With DC's Film Future
- Could Shazam Be The DCEU's Captain America?
- 'Shazam' Producer: 'We're Not Gonna Fuck This Film Up'
General audiences - for the most part - don't care whether a superhero film comes from Marvel or DC, they just want to watch them. Case in point, I just had lunch with a friend who thought Superman was part of the MCU. Therefore, the critical reception and word of mouth from the general audience both play a huge part in a general moviegoer's decision to watch a superhero film coming from either company.
Therefore, if Batman V Superman, with its iconic characters, and much-hyped movie of Suicide Squad have taken a beating because of negative reception from critics and more importantly, audiences, then a movie about Shazam - a largely unknown superhero - faces great risk even if it boasts The Rock as a star.
On The Other Hand, It Could Be The Next Big Breakout Hit
Looking at it the other way around, Shazam! has a lot of potential to become the next big thing and surprise hit, especially by being connected to the rest of the DC films. What could save it from becoming a box-office bomb? Films like Wonder Woman and Justice League being well-received. If the DCEU's many planned installments are to succeed financially, their upcoming superhero films need to be hits with both critics and the general audience, not causing division among everyone.
So, does Shazam! have a chance at succeeding? Of course, the mythos it will be based on are interesting, the characters charismatic, the world welcoming and it has the universally-beloved Dwayne Johnson as its star. However, it's up to the people in charge to be able to translate all of those traits to the screen and to future superhero films being well-received so Shazam! continues the trend of the comic book superhero genre being a proven success. Shazam! hits theaters on April 5, 2019.
What DCEU film are you most looking forward to?