Making Shazam! A Christmas Movie Presented All Sorts Of Challenges

Zachary Levi as Shazam

For decades we've been debating whether or not Die Hard a movie released in July, that takes place during the holidays, should be considered a "Christmas movie." Get ready for the next big holiday debate, because Shazam! will also be set during the happiest season of all, even though it will be released in April. Last year I got a chance to visit the set of the new DC movie and director David F. Sandberg explained that while the film's themes lent themselves to a Christmas setting, the decision to do so kinda sucked because filming in Toronto in the winter is no fun. According to Sandberg...

It's a lot about family and Christmastime and this family holiday. And it's about finding your family with these foster kids and everything. So yeah, it was just very appropriate for the story. It just meant that we had to shoot it here in winter, which has been pretty brutal. Shoot it all on location during nights, because they were like ... They were telling me like, 'If you shoot the carnival during the day, you get more kid hours, everything will be easier.' And I was like, 'Well, it's not gonna look good with all the lights and everything.' So yeah, so we've been shooting it during the nights and it's been pretty miserable.

In addition to dealing with the weather in Toronto, which had suffered an ice storm shortly before I arrived, there was the added issue that many of the actors are minors. Because they were under 18, there were limits to how much they could work in a given day, and that many more limits if the kids worked into the night.

Certainly, things would have been easier if the movie had been filmed at a different time of year. However, since the idea of family is an important aspect of the film, the group of foster kids all needed to be there, and because a major sequence takes place at a winter carnival, a lot of the movie had to be shot at night. My set visit was a fairly cold experience during the day. I got to see the carnival set that David F. Sandberg refers to here but it was during the day, and as David F. Sandberg says here, it just wouldn't have looked impressive on film.

While the experience of making the movie might not have been that much fun, the final result, as least as far as the trailers go, look quite fun. The story of Shazam! sees a 14-year-old boy (Asher Angel) living every kid's dream when he's given superpowers. The character certainly has fun, even if the actor did not.

Shazam! will be out in theaters in April which means it will likely be hitting Blu-ray in time to be available for Christmas season. Will Shazam! become a new Christmas action movie staple? The cast and crew would probably appreciate that considering the work they put in for it.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.