The new DC superhero flick Shazam is certainly a deviation from the norm. Where most action hero adaptations are intense, battle-focused and all business, this fantasy, sci-fi about a teenage boy who is able to transform to an adult superhero is filled with an enormous amount of humour and light-heartedness that the entire family would find refreshingly age-appropriate.
Upon its release in April 2019, the movie grossed in over $363 million worldwide against a budget of $100 million. It was a commercial success despite being DCEU’s lowest-earning installments among six. The performance of the cast and directorial prowess of David Sandberg was praised by critics. The movie also received an average rating of 7.27. Building on this success, a sequel was decided upon and will have the same director, writer and producers on set.
Shazam is a family delight and continues to appeal to all lovers of superhero movie genres, but what untold story lies behind the film and its cast?
The Untold Truth about Shazam Movie
The Shazam movie follows the story of 14-year old Billy Batson who has been given special powers by the wizard Shazam allowing him to transform to an adult superhero almost at will and must now use this power to defeat the dark forces controlled by Dr Thaddeus Sivana.
The road to cinematic success for the movie wasn’t always that straightforward though as the original work on the film had begun way back as 2000-2003. At this time, several scripts were written and evaluated to see how best to use this popular comic character that had been created in 1940 by Bill Parker and C.C Becks, originally named Captain Marvel and possessing superpowers very akin to the 1930s Superman character.
By 2008, a near-perfect script was drafted and the comic film was going to be made as an action-comedy revolving around the original story of Captain Marvel and his young alter ego, Billy Batson. This version had Peter Segal as director, John August as the writer, and, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson cast to play Black Adam, the movie’s villain.
However, the film didn’t see the light of the day as New Line Cinema, the original production house was absorbed into Warner Bros. and John August left citing pressure to make the script darker and more serious.
Bill Birch and Geoff Johns, two well-known DC Comics writers, took over script-writing from him, but by 2013, nothing was forthcoming. Segal pointed out that the similarities between Captain Marvel and Superman were going to hinder the movie’s success if released. Man of Steel was instead launched that year. By this time, DC Comics who were already revamping the Captain Marvel comic book franchise they had acquired since the 70s, decided to step in, but issues with Marvel Comics, who owned the trademark to the name “Captain Marvel” prevented them from using the name. DC Comics then went on to change it to “Shazam” and that finalized it.
By 2016, Shazam was almost set for release again but this didn’t happen. The script was again rewritten, a new director, David Sandberg came on board and by 2018, Dwayne Johnson pulled out from the project saying the new creative team wasn’t the original team he had signed up to work with. He is billed to star in Black Adam as a standalone movie. The final Shazam movie was released on April 5th, 2019
Who Are the Cast Members?
The main movie cast includes Zachary Levi, who plays the superhero. Asher Angel plays Billy, Mark Strong is Dr. Sivana, Jack Dylan Grazer is Freddy and Djimon Hounsou plays the wizard. Shazam movie was written by Darren Lemke and Henry Gayden, produced by Peter Safran and directed by David F Sandberg.
Facts About Shazam Movie You Should Know
- John Cena, Zane Holtz, Jake McDorman, Derek Theler, Billy Magnussen and Zachary Levi had all auditioned to play the superhero Shazam. Levi eventually got the part.
- At the pre-release screening, it grossed $3.3 million, more than Aquaman a few months earlier.
- The movie received 11 nominations for the Golden Trailer Awards, MTV Movie &TV Awards, Saturn Awards, and the Teen Choice Awards.
- Superman makes a cameo appearance at the end of the film.
- Shazam is DCEU’s lowest budgeted film at just $102 million