David F. Sandberg and Zachary Levi on ’Shazam!’ Being a Christmas Movie

It’s acceptable to classify the Christmastime-set and family-focused Shazam! as a Christmas movie, director David F. Sandberg told ComicBook.com at San Diego Comic-Con.

“It feels like a Christmas movie to me. It’s about family, and finding your family, you have these orphans or foster kids... and Christmas is very much a family holiday, so it sort of ties it all together in that way,” Sandberg said.

Added star Zachary Levi, who plays the beefy superhero alter ego of wide-eyed teen Billy Batson (Asher Angel), Shazam! takes cues from Geoff Johns’ New 52 modernized retelling, also set during the most wonderful time of the year.

“That was a Christmas story in that issue, so I think that’s gotta play something into it,” Levi said.

“Yeah, and that was the idea Geoff Johns had for that as well, that it’s a family holiday,” added Sandberg.

The question came after Die Hard star Bruce Willis disputed beliefs his famed 1988 actioner is a Christmas movie despite its holiday time setting, saying instead at The Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis the classic action flick is “not a Christmas movie, it’s a G-d damn Bruce Willis movie.”

Shazam! joins 1992’s Batman Returns and 2013’s Iron Man 3 as one of the rare superhero-centric movies to be set during the Christmas season.

The easter egg-filled first trailer for the upcoming DC Films production made its debut over the weekend as part of Warner Bros.’ San Diego Comic-Con Hall H presentation. Set firmly in the connected DCEU — already home to Wonder Woman, Justice League, and AquamanShazam! turns to lighter fare, telling the story of 14-year-old foster kid Billy (Angel), who is endowed with the ability to transform into adult superhero Shazam (Levi) after an encounter with an ancient wizard.

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Filling out Angel’s Shazam family are Jack Dylan Grazer (It) as Freddy Freeman, Grace Fulton (Annabelle: Creation) as Mary Bromfield, Faithe Herman (This is Us) as Darla Dudley, Ian Chen (Fresh Off the Boat) as Eugene Choi, and Jovan Armand (The Middle) as Pedro Pena. The newly-minted superhero will have to confront the nefarious schemes of the villainous Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, played here by Mark Strong (Kingsman: The Golden Circle).

Shazam! opens April 5, 2019.