In the filmmaker's commentary for Shazam!, which is available as a digital exclusive from Apple if you purchase the film through Apple TV or iTunes, director David F. Sandberg admits that he did not understand the appeal of the "your phone's charged" joke that became one of the movie's calling cards. He was so convinced it would not make the final cut, in fact, that he filmed it only very briefly, in a single take. He was shocked to discover later that it was considered one of the most memorable beats from the movie's first trailer -- ensuring its place in the film.
The scene is just one of a number of instances in the commentary track that Sandberg admits to having made surprising and happy discoveries during production, and either reshooting scenes to accommodate a better idea, or at making alterations to other plans along the way. Among other examples he mentioned: the scene between Shazam and Freddy at the top of the "Rocky Steps" the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art was originally scripted, but ultimately cut when the film's production budget did not allow for a trip out to Philly to shoot it. After the movie tested well with audiences and New Line gave him a budget for additional photography, they were able to use some of that money to include the sequence.
"You can see these jump-cuts in here. To be honest when I read this scene in the script, I was like, 'eh. He's charging people's phones? Isn't that kind of lame?' I wasn't sure about this scene," Sandberg admitted. "We didn't have a lot of time shooting…so I was like, 'we'll just do it in one take, just one single, continuous shot. And then it wound up in the trailer and people loved it — him charging phones. I was like, 'I guess I was wrong on that one.' I had a friend tell me that he was at The Grove and he saw kids after the trailer was released going 'your phone's charged, your phone's charged.' So it's like, 'Well, I guess we've got to have it in the movie.' But since it wasn't shot with any coverage, it was just this one long thing…but that's the great thing about shooting a montage like this. You can do jump cuts and people will just accept it."
It turned out to be such a popular moment that it not only appeared in the trailer, but also provided DC with a clever gimmick -- Shazam! branded phone chargers -- that they used to promote the Geoff Johns/Dale Eaglesham reboot of the comic earlier this year.
Shazam! is now available on streaming video on demand services, and will be out on DVD and Blu-ray on July 16. Joker arrives on October 4th, Birds of Prey on February 7th, 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5th, 2020, and The Batman on June 25th, 2021.