With Aquaman crossing the $1 billion mark at the global box office just a few days ago, it seems that Warner Bros. has a fair amount of money to throw around these days, and apparently they’re not shy about spending it, with Shazam! costume designer Leah Butler recently indicating that upwards of $10 million total was spent on Billy Batson’s ten suits.
The subject came up in an interview with Total Film, when Butler recalled how each outfit needed to be shaped to form a muscular build around actor Zachary Levi:
“The exterior suit is a spandex suit that goes over a musculature suit, and each muscle has been sculpted on the body of Zach, so it accents and highlights his shape and size.”
As you may have seen from the trailers, Shazam’s costume also includes a lightning bolt on the chest which lights up – a feature which provided further work for the team and further expense for the studio.
“There is actually a battery in the back — we luckily had a cape to cover it all up or I don’t know where we would have put all that stuff — and it is remotely lit through a switchboard operator,” Butler said. “There is wiring throughout the costume. It’s a 26-volt AA rechargeable battery. It lasts about two hours at full charge.”
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To prepare for his role, Levi gave his body a serious bulking up, but even before the actor had developed his muscular physique, Butler and the team were at work creating a costume to fit his form.
“It took 16 weeks to build the costume,” Butler said. “We had to scan Zach’s body and start building the costume even before he started his very strict regime — his diet and working out.”
All in all, creating Shazam’s suits was a long and sophisticated process that, according to Butler, cost the production a hefty fee:
“Each suit costs, oh boy, upwards of a million? We have ten suits.”
As it stands, the budget of Shazam! has yet to be revealed, but even taking into account the cost of Billy’s outfits, the film still doesn’t look like quite as expensive as the recent Aquaman, which was tasked with constructing a whole new underwater world. In fact, by DCEU standards, David F. Sandberg’s upcoming effort may actually be a relatively small scale actioner, with the footage we’ve seen so far suggesting a departure from the overblown spectacle of the Zack Snyder era.
In any case, you can judge for yourself if Billy’s suits were worth the expense when Shazam! hits theaters on April 5th, 2019, but in the meantime, here’s hoping we get a new trailer very soon.