‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ already sinking harder, faster, and further than ‘Black Adam’

shazam black adam
Images via Warner Bros.

Once upon a time, DCU fans daydreamed of seeing Zachary Levi and Dwayne Johnson go head-to-head in a showdown for the ages, but Shazam! Fury of the Gods has ended up sinking harder, faster, and further than Black Adam, and the latter was deemed enough of a bust for James Gunn and Peter Safran to decide it wasn’t worth continuing the franchise past its opening salvo.

David F. Sandberg’s superhero sequel may have cost roughly half as much as Jaume Collet-Serra’s $200 million blockbuster, but the box office numbers and critical reactions aren’t exactly of a similar gulf. In fact, the tables have turned completely, with Fury of the Gods heading towards a $30 million three-day debut, miles off the $67 million hauled in by Black Adam.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the Shazamily still has the edge with a 54 percent critical approval rating compared to the Man in Black’s 39 percent, but respective audiences scores of 86 and 88 percent put them in roughly the same boat. However, the DCU duds shared the unwanted distinction of a B+ CinemaScore, which is the same grade awarded to Thor: Love and Thunder and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which aren’t exactly two of the most highly-regarded costumed capers of the last year.

Fury of the Gods is tracking to earn 44 percent less than its immediate predecessor, which is the sort of drop you almost never see from cinema’s most reliably bankable genre. With a revamp of the entire shared universe on the cards, it seems as though not enough people have deemed the sophomore adventure to be unmissable on the big screen, which is fair enough when it isn’t.

The Flash is already being called one of the best superhero flicks of all-time so it should be safe from a similar downturn, but the jury remains out on Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom for now.