Making a movie, especially a superhero movie, isn't exactly an inexpensive affair. There are numerous expenses that go into bringing a story from idea to screen and when it comes to the upcoming DC Extended Universe film Shazam! it sounds like a good chunk of the budget went into the hero's costume -- millions, to be exact.
Shazam! costume designer Leah Butler recently told TotalFilm (via Syfy Wire) that each suit worn by star Zachary Levi in the film cost over a million dollars to make and that they made 10 of them for the film. Why the high cost? Butler explained that a lot of detail went into making the suit, which she said, "took a lot of inspiration from the New 52, with the hooded cape".
"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," Butler explained.
There's also the matter of the electronics in the suit. As fans have seen teases of in marketing for the film, the lightning bolt on Shazam's chest lights up. Butler explains that to make that happen, there's wiring all through the suit, as well as a battery pack.
"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 explained. "There is wiring throughout the costume. It's a 26-volt AA rechargeable battery. It lasts about two hours at full charge."
It's a lot of detail to put into a super suit, and as Butler went on to explain, most of that detail had to do with Levi's own physical form as well. While Levi has faced claims that his muscles in the suit are somehow fake or padded -- a claim he has routinely denied and even shown off his physique on social media -- everything with the suit came down to working of Levi's form, even before he bulked up.
"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."
The end result was a suit with a hefty price tag, and multiple copies of the suit.
"Each suit costs, oh boy, upwards of a million? We have ten suits," Butler said.
It may seem like a lot of money to invest in a costume -- or costumes, as the case would be -- but from what we've seen thus far, it appears to have paid off. Last month, Fandango released a new still from the film showing Shazam (Levi) giving the camera a pretty menacing look while fully suited up. The film, which sees Billy Batson (Asher Angel) granted the ability to transform into Levi's adult superhero, will also offer audiences a unique entry point into the DCEU.
"Our movie takes place very squarely in the DC Universe," Levi said last January. "In fact, I would argue that we're kind of the most self-aware of it because the movies that we all watch -- I mean, Aquaman and Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman -- they're all basically documentaries in their world. These things, these are all real events that have happened. Batman and Superman fighting. Superman saving all of Metropolis, whilst simultaneously destroying the entire city -- that all really happened."5comments
Aquaman is in theaters now. Upcoming DC films include Shazam! on April 5, 2019, Joker on October 10, 2019, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, and Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020.
What do you think about the hefty price tag of Shazam!'s super suits? Let us know in the comments below.