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Shazam doesn't have the sort of name recognition with the average movie fan that Superman, Wonder Woman, or even Aquaman has. However, the character who has been around in the comics almost as long as Superman now has his own big screen adventure just like those top tier heroes and based on the preview night screenings, he's going to be putting up some respectable numbers against his DC brothers and sisters. While estimates were that Shazam! was going to do around $4 million, actual numbers are closer to $6 million.
While it's still a little early to know for sure, it looks like Shazam!'s Thursday night tally was in the neighborhood of $5.9 million, rather than the $4-$4.5 million that it was looking like as things were getting going last night. This is in addition to the paid previews run by Fandango a couple weeks ago, which means the movie has already grossed over $9 million. While that's certainly not going to put the film in the record books, it's a solid number that puts Shazam! just bellow Marvel's Ant-Man, on the superhero preview list, and well above movies like Captain America: The First Avenger and even Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. It also more than doubled the preview numbers of its opening weekend competition, the remake of Pet Sematary.
But of course, these numbers are just the beginning. According to Deadline, Shazam! is expecting to bring in $45-$50 million over its opening weekend in North America, with another $100 million or more expected for overseas. If Shazam! hits the high side of all its global estimates it could be seeing a worldwide opening weekend of $170 million, which is remarkable.
Considering that Shazam! did a lot better than expected last night, hitting the high end of expectations, or even exceeding them, certainly seems possible.
Shazam! will be the domestic box office champion on Monday, as it will be putting up numbers similar to what Dumbo did last weekend even if it only does as projected. However, while that film is struggling a bit internationally as well, it's done less than $130 million globally, Shazam! international business looks to make it a solid hit.
This is good news for DC and Warner Bros. because we already knew that there were plans for more from the Shazam! corner of the DC Universe. Dwayne Johnson, who co-produced Shazam!, was cast as villain Black Adam long before Zachary Levi was ever given the nod as the title character. One fully expects these two characters to cross paths somewhere down the line.
Of course, the box office charts are about to get even more crowded than usual with comic book movies. Hellboy is set to debut next week. Which, of course, will be followed a couple of weeks later by a little indie flick called Avengers: Endgame.