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.


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.