Zachary Levi addresses disappointing Shazam 2 box office, says marketing is the 'biggest issue'

The superhero Shazam may have the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury — but Shazam! Fury of the Gods failed to take flight at the box office.

The DC sequel opened to an underwhelming $30.1 million at the domestic box office, considerably lower than the $53.5 million the first film earned in 2019. On Twitter, star Zachary Levi opened up about the disappointing debut, blaming the soft box office on how the movie was promoted and sold.

In a fan Q&A, Levi wrote that the "biggest issue" with Fury of the Gods was "marketing." He also said that while he's not blaming the box office on Zack Snyder fans, he acknowledged that there is a particularly vocal cadre of Snyder devotees online who eagerly root for any other DC project to fail.

Zachary Levi in 'Shazam! Fury of the Gods'
Zachary Levi in 'Shazam! Fury of the Gods'

Warner Bros. Pictures Zachary Levi in 'Shazam! Fury of the Gods'

One Shazam fan tweeted, "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."

"This is also true," Levi wrote in response. "Sad, but true. 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."

On Instagram, Levi also addressed rumblings that Dwayne Johnson blocked characters from his film Black Adam from showing up in Fury of the Gods. According to a report from The Wrap, members of the Justice Society of America were originally supposed to show up in the end-credits scene of Fury of the Gods (after recently debuting in Black Adam).

But Johnson reportedly vetoed their appearance in the Shazam sequel and also rejected a potential Levi cameo in Black Adam. (Remember, Black Adam was originally a Shazam villain in the comics, and he was initially supposed to show up in a Shazam movie, before Johnson spun the character off into his own solo project.) Representatives for Johnson did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment Tuesday.

Levi didn't explicitly confirm the Wrap report, but he did reference it on his Instagram story, writing: "The truth shall set you free."

Earlier this week, Shazam director David F. Sandberg also addressed the response to Fury of the Gods on Twitter, writing that he was "surprised" by the critical reception. "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," he wrote. "Oh well."

He added, "As I've been saying for a while now I'm very eager to go back to horror (as well as trying some new things). After six years of Shazam I'm definitely done with superheroes for now."

Like Levi, Sandberg addressed the online toxicity of some fans, explaining that although he's extremely proud of the two Shazam movies he directed, he's ready to unplug from the constant online chatter around superhero movies.

"One thing I've really been looking forward to is disconnecting from the superhero discourse online," Sandberg wrote. "A lot of that stresses me out so much and it will be nice not having to think about that anymore."

Earlier this year, new DC Films co-chairs James Gunn and Peter Safran unveiled their plans for future movies and TV shows — including a new Superman film without original Snyder actor Henry Cavill. The new era will essentially reboot the existing DC universe, dropping Snyder's vision in favor of a new direction.

This story has been updated to reflect Levi addressing a report by The Wrap on Instagram.

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