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Shazam! will hit theaters next April, but the director says the film feels much more like the sort of thing you would see in theaters in December. In fact, it feels so much like a Christmas movie to director David F. Sandberg that Shazam! is actually set during the Christmas season. As to why that decision was made, the director said that the film's subject matter just felt like the sort of thing you'd see in a Christmas movie. According to Sandberg...
It feels like a Christmas movie to me. It's about family, and finding your family, you have these orphans or foster kids... and Christmas is very much a family holiday, so it sort of ties it all together in that way.
The question of what exactly makes a film a "Christmas movie" isn't exactly set in stone, thus the reason we're still having conversations about whether or not Die Hard is one or not, whether or not Bruce Willis thinks it is. While being set at Christmas is certainly important, it's usually not the only thing that matters.
While Shazam! is a movie about a guy who gains superpowers through magical means, it's also about a foster kid who is looking for his place in the world. As we've seen in the first trailer, Billy Batson has been through multiple foster homes before he finds the one we see in the film. He's one of several foster kids taken in and while he clearly still has his suspicions about whether this one is going to work out, we can probably guess how things ultimately occur. If it feels like a Christmas movie, as David F. Sandberg tells Comicbook.com, the family probably doesn't fall apart at the end.
If filming schedules had worked out slightly differently one wonders if Warner Bros. is now wishing they could have released Shazam! in December. They're already releasing a different DC comic book movie in that month Aquaman, and while the Christmas elements will probably be downplayed for the April release, if the film could have leaned into that marketing, it would probably only have helped.
Still, it's not like we need a heartwarming movie to only open during the holidays. If the family element of Shazam! works, it will work at any time of year. Also, with an April release for the movie, the Blu-Ray will certainly be out before the holiday season, so if you want to add the film to your regular Christmas movie rotation, you'll be able to do so next year. And nobody will argue with you about whether or not it's a Christmas movie, because the director says it is.