Reshoots. For some reason, they carry a negative connotation when it comes to blockbusters. Fans hear "reshoots," and they panic, assuming that something is broken, and needs to be fixed. This is not accurate. DC Comics fans hear reshoots, and they get even more triggered. They, however, have real reason. Shazam! appears to be undergoing reshoots, per a post from star Zachary Levi. Let's discuss what this means after the image:
Zachary Levi plays the grown Billy Batson, a teenage boy who is blessed with the powers of a superhero when he shouts the name Shazam. The trailer for the movie tips audiences off to how Billy gets this power. It involves a wizard who chooses the kid to represent the six immortal elders. And yes, the movie seems to be sticking closely to the hero's origin.
Reason to panic? Not in the slightest. As we mentioned above, reshoots are customary on major tentpole films such as this. Special effects are added to sequences throughout the process, and directors realize that they need some additional photography -- as Zachary Levi puts it -- to complete scenes or bridge a gap that might exist in the storyline.
It's understandable why DCEU fans might be a little nervous when they hear the "R" word being used on one of their movies. The most recent chapter in the ever-expanding DCEU underwent significant reshoots when Justice League hired Joss Whedon to "fix" what Zack Snyder had started.
I'm not certain that you coud actually call them reshoots, however. It was more like a complete and total overhaul, as Whedon reportedly embarked on an effort to alter the tone of Justice League from the darker and broodier vision of Zack Snyder to a lighter, more audience-friendly take that would satisfy a broader base of fans.
Also, there was the mustache issue with Henry Cavill. The less we say about that CGI trainwreck, the better.
Reshoots on behalf of Shazam! likely wouldn't be this extensive. For starters, there hasn't been a severe director switch behind the lens on Shazam!, with original helmer David F. Sandberg overseeing the shoot from start to finish. Also, the tone on DC's Shazam movie appears to have been decided very early on, embracing a goofier approach to what's normally serious superhero material. Jokes don't have to be added to Shazam! after the fact in a rewrite or in reshoots. They're already part of the process.
And they have been evident in both the movie's early marketing, and the first full trailer. Because Billy Batson is a kid in a superhero body, he basically behaves like a teenager. Early posters have Shazam blowing huge bubblegum bubbles, and chugging Big Gulp sodas. While in the trailer, the biggest laugh happens when Billy does the Floss dance in his Shazam costume:
Reshoots on Shazam! don't have us concerned, but we do understand why there's all of a sudden more pressure on this standalone origin movie than was previously the case.
A few months ago, DC had three high-profile movies carrying the load in 2019. Shazam! would kick things off, but even if it faltered, all eyes were on Patty Jenkins' and Gal Gadot's highly anticipated follow up, Wonder Woman 1984, to arrive in November and close the year off on a high note.
The 2019 slate for the DCEU also included this oddball Joker movie that Todd Phillips is shooting with Joaquin Phoenix. It's exactly the type of risky play that Warner Bros. needs to do with its DC properties, instead of chasing the interconnected world that has been established over at Marvel Studios. If the Joker movie succeeds, think of the number of fascinating characters who could hold down solo movies without feeling the need to advance a larger story like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League were compelled to do.
However, Warner Bros. shifted Wonder Woman 1984 out of 2019, giving Patty Jenkins the June slot she coveted. (The sequel will now arrive in theaters on June 5, 2020.) Meaning there's now a brighter spotlight on Shazam! to entertain, because it's the only real DCEU movie hitting theaters in a year where rival Marvel is going to conclude the Avengers: Infinity War cliffhanger, introduce their own Captain Marvel, and follow Spider-Man on a European mission.
No pressure, Zachary Levi.
Why is it so important for Shazam to catch on with current audience members? Because the DCEU is shedding recognizable characters, so they need new ones to catch on.
While the world waits for the Wonder Woman sequel, and James Wan puts the finishing touches on an Aquaman movie centered around Jason Momoa, word breaks that Henry Cavill likely is done playing the Man of Steel in the DCEU (at the very least, there is no planned Superman movie on the studio's radar). And Ben Affleck's time in the cape and cowl of Batman appears to be at an end (especially if Matt Reeves get the greenlight he seeks to recast).
DC could use a few more heroes on which it can build, the way that Marvel created franchises out of Thor, Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy. It benefits them if Shazam! is a smash, because then Zachary Levi could be counted on to produce in sequels, and those sequels could be used to bring in more recognizable DC faces. Like Black Adam. Rocky, are you ready for your closeup?
The future of the DC Extended Universe is actually clearer and more stable than it has been in years past. Beyond the movies mentioned above, the studio is making major strides on its Birds of Prey movie with Margot Robbie returning to the role of Harley Quinn. And they struck a deal with James Gunn to write (and possibly direct) a new Suicide Squad movie. Imagine of he does for DC what Guardians of the Galaxy did for Marvel?
As for Shazam!, we'll see how the reshoots helped or hurt the overall movie when David F. Sandberg's film drops into theaters on April 5, 2019.