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David F. Sandberg is responding to the criticism that Shazam! Fury of the Gods has faced following its Friday release.
The director took to Twitter Monday to note that the latest DC installment was his “lowest critic score” on Rotten Tomatoes, which stood at 53 percent the day he posted. But it was also his “highest audience score,” at 87 percent. The film is a sequel to 2019’s Shazam!, which introduced Zachary Levi as the title character and which boasted a 90 percent critics score on Rotten Tomatoes.
“I wasn’t expecting a repeat of the first movie critically but I was still a little surprised because I think it’s a good film. Oh well,” he wrote.
Sandberg’s comments come after the film’s box office opening marked one of the worst starts for a major Hollywood superhero film. Shazam! Fury of the Gods opened to $30.5 million domestically from 4,071 theaters, which was well behind the $53.5 million domestic opening of the first film, not adjusted for inflation.
The sequel completed production before filmmaker James Gunn and producer Peter Safran began their roles in 2022 leading DC’s film, TV and animation division, and it’s one of four DC films scheduled this year, including The Flash, Blue Beetle, and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.
During a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the director opened up about being ready to move on from superhero movies. “That’s definitely how I feel right now, yeah,” he explained with a laugh. “I started my Shazam journey right after Annabelle: Creation in 2017, and so it’s been quite a few years of just Shazam. So I’m very ready to move on and go back to horror and just try some other things.” On Twitter, he doubled down on that, adding, “After six years of Shazam I’m definitely done with superheroes for now.”
When one fan tweeted to Levi, “There is no denying that at the moment there are many Snyder fans who are happy for the failure of your film and many of them wish that everything that is to come fails just for not continuing with the films of their director,” Levi responded, “This is also true.”
“Sad, but true,” he continued. “How much that actually affects the box office is anyone’s guess. But I think the biggest issue we’re having is marketing. This is a perfect family movie, and yet a lot of families aren’t aware of that. Which is just a shame.”
Rachel Zegler, who stars as Anthea in the sequel, also clapped back at critics of the film on Twitter, writing, “Some people out there and just being… senselessly mean. and it’s unnecessary. and i know, i know, ‘if you can’t handle the heat…’ and all that nonsense, and you’re right. but our film is actually very good. it’s just cool to hate on fun nowadays. that’s okay. we’re good.”
Shazam! Fury of the Gods is currently playing in movie theaters.
March 21, 11:28 a.m. Updated with Zachary Levi’s tweet.
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