Shazam!: Fury of the Gods is moving its release date to 2023 as a result of the latest series of major release date changes related to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. The United States, which drives much of the global box office revenue, has not been able to sufficiently slow the spread of covid-19 to make moviegoers feel safe going to the theater in huge numbers -- and without huge numbers to boost their opening weekends, most massive tentpole movies are being delayed significantly in order to give exhibitors and audiences a chance to get back on their feet. Regal Cinemas announced today that they would be closing their doors until it becomes economically feasible to turn a profit -- something that has been hard with screenings that are mostly reissues of older movies audiences already have at home.
Shazam! hit theaters in 2019 and was a big hit with critics and audiences, essentially locking it in for a sequel even if it didn't do Batman v Superman kind of money. At DC FanDome recently, the filmmakers revealed the subtitle.
"Shazam! Fury of the Gods is now a summer 2023 film," director David F. Sandberg tweeted, adding the joke, "WB was like 'can't you just use fake beards on the kids?' and I was like 'If Tom Cruise is going to space for real then we can wait for the kids to grow real beards! It's an important plot point."
Shazam! spinoff Black Adam is also one of the films that's getting delayed -- and at present it has been removed entirely from the schedule. Given the enthusiasm that Dwayne Johnson had for the film at FanDome, it's unlikely that it will not be rescheduled in the near future -- but there are a couple of factors to consider.
Shazam! has most of its work done and can go into production pretty quickly -- in fact, filmmaker David F. Sandberg took to Twitter to reassure fans that the production dates themselves will not change -- and important variable since so many of the actors are kids and teens, who age more noticeably than adult actors over the course of a year or so.
There's also Johnson's own schedule. While he is excited to play Black Adam and clearly eager to get the long-awaited movie into production, he remains one of the most sought-after Hollywood stars working today, and scheduling a production around his other commitments is likely more difficult than doing the same for Zachary Levi and Marta Milans.
Other DC films that are being delayed include The Batman and Ezra Miller's solo movie for The Flash. And while fans might be freaking out about the delays on The Batman, both Black Adam and The Flash have been in development limbo since Affleck was still supposed to direct himself in that movie.
Shazam!: Fury of the Gods is now expected in theaters on June 2, 2023.