'Shazam!' director explains why the DC hero's super suit cost $1 million EACH

Shazam’s suit cost a lot of money to make (credit: Warner Bros)
Shazam’s suit cost a lot of money to make (credit: Warner Bros)

Comic book movies often carry a hefty price tag and it sounds like one of the most expensive things made on Shazam! was the hero’s super suit.

According to the film’s costume designer, Leah Butler, it cost around $1 million (£772,255) to put together one of the red, white and gold costumes. They built 10 altogether.

Following Butler’s interview with TotalFilm, Shazam! director David F. Sandberg took to Twitter to clarify a few points regarding the astronomical figure quoted in the interview.

“I never saw a price tag so I don’t know the exact number, ” his statement said. “Wouldn’t surprise me though. The thing is that it’s not the price for one suit. In developing a suit like this you basically have to build it several times over to get things right.

“Like there were many different bolts made. Ones with different bolt shapes, ones with different ways of lighting up, etc. There were different versions of the fabric made in different shades, different patterns, and so on and different versions had to be camera tested,” he added.

“Once you nail down the design, the material and all other details you then have to make multiples and ones for stunts etc.. Even during shooting you have to do upgrades.”

After explaining that a lot of the design changes and expenditure came down to trial and error, Sandberg finished: “So it’s not like it’s one million dollars in material, or that making one of these would cost that much. It’s the whole process and making multiple copies and versions.”

Butler went into detail about how the suit was made during her conversation with the film magazine.

“The exterior suit is a spandex suit that goes over a musculature suit, and each muscle has been sculpted on the body of Zach so it accents and highlights his shape and size,” Butler said. “There is actually a battery in the back – we luckily had a cape to cover it all up or I don’t know where we would have put all that stuff – and it is remotely lit through a switchboard operator.

“There is wiring throughout the costume. It’s a 26-volt AA rechargeable battery. It lasts about two hours at full charge.”

Interestingly, Zachary Levi has denied wearing a muscle suit underneath the costume in the past after facing criticism for not being beefy enough for the role. “Does it look fake to you? Come on!” he replied to Variety after being challenged on wearing a muscle suit.

$1 million per suit does seem steep, considering each Aston Martin DB10 used in the last James Bond film Spectre also reportedly cost $1 million each.

Shazam! is the latest solo superhero movie from Warner Bro’s DC Universe and centres on a teenage boy called Billy Batson who is gifted with superpowers when he utters the titular word.

Zachary Levi plays the adult hero
Zachary Levi plays the adult hero

Asher Angel plays Billy with Zachary Levi playing his superhero alter ego and Mark Strong is back on villainous form as Dr. Thaddeus Sivana.

Here’s the official film synopsis:

We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s (Angel) case, by shouting out one word—SHAZAM!—this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam (Levi), courtesy of an ancient wizard.

Still, a kid at heart—inside a ripped, godlike body—Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test?

Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana.

Shazam! is in cinemas on 5 April

(H/T SYFY Wire)

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