Shazam! Information

Shazam! is a 2019 American superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name. Produced by New Line Cinema and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, it is the seventh installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). Directed by David F. Sandberg from a screenplay by Henry Gayden, and a story by Gayden and Darren Lemke, the film stars Asher Angel as Billy Batson, a teenage boy who can transform into an adult superhero, played by Zachary Levi. Mark Strong, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Djimon Hounsou also star. It is the first live-action film version of the character since the 1941 serial Adventures of Captain Marvel (the character's original name).

Development of a live-action Shazam! film began at New Line in the early 2000s, but was delayed for many years. The film went into pre-production in 2008 with director Peter Segal and writer John August, and Dwayne Johnson considered to star as the villain Black Adam, but the project fell through. William Goldman, Alec Sokolow, Joel Cohen, Bill Birch, and Geoff Johns, among others, were all attached to the project as writers at various points. The film was officially announced in 2014, with Johnson attached to star as either Shazam or Black Adam. He would later be cast in January 2017 to lead a solo Black Adam development project. Sandberg signed on to direct Shazam! in February 2017 and Levi was cast that October with Angel joining the following month. Principal photography began in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on January 29, 2018, with most of the film shot at Pinewood Toronto Studios, and wrapped on May 11, 2018.

Shazam! is scheduled for release in the United States by Warner Bros. Pictures in RealD 3D, Dolby Cinema, and IMAX 3D on April 5, 2019. The film received praise from critics for Levi and Grazer's performances and Sandberg's direction, as well as its light tone and sense of fun, with many considering it to be one of the best films set in the DCEU.


In 1974 Upstate New York, while playing with his Magic 8-Ball, a young Thaddeus Sivana is magically transported to the Rock of Eternity, where he meets the wizard Shazam, who introduces him to the mystical statues containing the spirits of the Seven Deadly Sins: Pride, Greed, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Wrath, and Sloth. The last of a council of seven, Shazam spent centuries searching for a new champion. Put to a test to see if he is pure of heart, Sivana attempts to touch the Eye of Envy, failing the test. When he is transported back to the car, he causes a scene when he tries to go back, causing his father to be injured.

In present-day Philadelphia, Billy Batson is arrested by child services after he lures and traps police officers to assist in his search for his mother. He is adopted by the Vasquez's, and he shares a room with Freddie Freeman, a paraplegic. Meanwhile, using testimonies by those rejected by Shazam, Sivana returns to the Rock of Eternity and frees the Sins, allowing them to use his body as a vessel to escape. With his power, he kills his father and brother for the abuse he suffered as a child.

While at school, Freddie is bullied by a group of kids. Billy intervenes and flees onto the subway, where he is summoned by Shazam, who tells him of one who used his powers for evil. Billy promises he uses his powers for good, and Shazam has Billy grab his staff and say, "Shazam!", which transforms Billy into an adult with multiple superpowers. With Freddie's help, Billy begins to learn the full extent of those powers. Freddie posts videos of Shazam"?s powers, which go viral. However, after Freddie claims to know Shazam at school, he and Billy get into an argument at the dinner table over Freddie using Billy for his newfound powers. Billy begins to skip school to enjoy being Shazam, humiliating Freddie. Shazam accidentally causes a bus to fall off a bridge before saving it, causing Freddie to promptly reprimand him for abusing his powers. Upon seeing Shazam on the news, Sivana attacks him. Shazam is easily defeated, but he transforms back into Billy to blend into the fleeing crowd. However, Sivana captures Freddie, who was looking for Billy.

Billy's siblings realize that he is Shazam, and they reveal that they found his mother. Billy runs from home and meets his mother, who reveals she abandoned him because she could not take care of him as well as the police could. As he's leaving, Billy receives a call from Sivana, who has arrived at the Vasquez's home to find him. Upon Shazam returning home, Sivana threatens Billy's siblings for Shazam's powers. When Shazam agrees, Sivana takes them to the Rock of Eternity. During the ceremony, Freddie bruises Sivana, giving Shazam time to escape and causing them to realize that without the Sins, Sivana is a normal man.

Sivana corners the family at a carnival, where the Sins threaten to kill Billy's siblings if Shazam doesn't give his powers. However, Shazam uses the staff to give power to his siblings, causing them to also become adult superheroes with powers. Shazam manages to defeat Sivana by taunting the final Sin, Envy, to leave Sivana before saving him. Using Sivana, Shazam takes control of the Eye of Envy, enabling him to contain the spirits. The group is considered as superheroes in the city, and Billy accepts the Vasquez's as his family. Billy shows up at school as Shazam to endorse Freddie before revealing that he brought a friend: Superman.

In a mid-credits scene, Sivana, in his jail cell drawing multiple symbols across its walls, is interrupted by Mister Mind, who tells him of the pillars of evil that will come together. In a post-credits scene, Freddie tests whether Billy can talk to fish, only for Billy to dismiss the power as stupid.


  • Asher Angel and Zachary Levi as William "Billy" Batson / Shazam: </ref> The powers given from the ancient wizard to Batson include gifts bestowed upon the sorcerer from various others. These powers include: the wisdom of Solomon, granting increased intellect; the superhuman strength of Hercules, the superhuman stamina of Atlas; powers from Zeus, including the ability to summon lightning; the increased courage of Achilles, as well as being nearly indestructible; and the superhuman speed of Mercury, which provides him with the means of flight. David Kohlsmith plays a four-year-old William "Billy" Batson.}}
  • Mark Strong as Dr. Thaddeus Sivana: </ref>}}
  • Jack Dylan Grazer and Adam Brody as Frederick "Freddy" Freeman: Billy's foster brother and best friend, a disabled, nerdy superhero enthusiast who is the only person that knows that he is Shazam.
  • Djimon Hounsou as Shazam:</ref>}}
  • Grace Fulton and Michelle Borth as Mary Bromfield: Billy's foster sister at his new home, the "den mother" who helps take care of the other kids and is debating attending college in California.
  • Ian Chen and Ross Butler as Eugene Choi: Billy's foster brother at his new home, a obsessive gaming enthusiast and budding techie.
  • Jovan Armand and D.J. Cotrona as Pedro Pea: Billy's foster brother at his new home, a shy, sensitive kid who has trouble opening up.
  • Faithe Herman and Meagan Good as Darla Dudley: Billy's youngest foster sibling at his new home, an energetic and effusive little girl.
  • Cooper Andrews as Victor Vasquez: The foster father of the group home where Billy and his friends live
  • Marta Milans as Rosa Vasquez: The foster mother of the group home where Billy and his friends live.
The film also features Andi Osho as social worker Mrs. Glover, and John Glover as the estranged father of Thaddeus, the head of Sivana Industries, while Natalia Safran was cast as Mrs. Sivana, Doctor Sivana's mother. Safran previously portrayed Rina, the Queen of the Fishermen Kingdom of Atlantis in Aquaman. Additionally, Bill Dean voices a toy version of Batman, while Lotta Losten reprised her character Esther Crosby from Sandberg's film Lights Out, in an Easter egg appearance.

Additionally, the Seven Deadly Sins - a supernatural team of villains consisting of the demons Pride, Envy, Greed, Lust, Wrath, Gluttony, and Sloth - appear in the film. They are initially trapped in statues guarded by the wizard Shazam, but escape and align themselves with Sivana. The characters were portrayed by stunt doubles in motion capture suits on-set during filming and depicted as CGI characters.



New Line Cinema began development of a Shazam! live-action feature film in the early 2000s, with multiple screenplay drafts by William Goldman, the team of Alec Sokolow and Joel Cohen, Bryan Goluboff, and John August. The version of the Shazam! script written by August, which went into pre-production in 2008, was an action-comedy which focused on the origin story of the hero, then known by his original name of Captain Marvel, and his young alter ego, Billy Batson. Peter Segal was attached as director and actor Dwayne Johnson was in talks to appear as the film's villain, Black Adam. The Shazam! film was being produced by New Line Cinema, which was absorbed into Warner Bros. during the course of development.

Following the success of Warner's Batman film The Dark Knight and the commercial failure of its lighter, family-friendly Speed Racer during the summer of 2008, August departed from the project citing pressure from the studio to make the screenplay darker and more serious. By the summer of 2009, Bill Birch and Geoff Johns, a prominent DC Comics writer, were assigned to write the screenplay, while Segal remained attached as director. In August 2010, the studio considered canceling the theatrical movie in favor of a live-action series for prime time network television. In December 2013, Segal stated that the film would not be happening, as the similarities between Captain Marvel and Superman had become an obstacle after the successful launch of Man of Steel.

While development on the Shazam! film was in limbo, DC Comics rebooted the comic book franchise as part of their New 52 relaunch in 2012. Due to ongoing trademark conflicts with Marvel Comics, who owned the trademark for "Captain Marvel" for use with their own character of the same name, DC renamed their Captain Marvel superhero character "Shazam" at this time. DC had always been required to market and promote the character using the trademark Shazam! since acquiring the publishing rights from Fawcett Comics in 1972. Captain Marvel had originated at Fawcett in 1939, but fell into limbo after 1953 following a long legal battle with DC over Captain Marvel's similarities to Superman.

In April 2014, Warner Bros. revealed the upcoming slate of films based on DC Comics properties. A Justice League film was set to be released in 2017, alongside upcoming adaptations of Shazam!, Fables, and 100 Bullets. The Shazam! film was tentatively set for release in July 2016. Dwayne Johnson confirmed he would be starring in Shazam! that August, but was undecided between portraying Shazam or Black Adam. In September, Johnson was confirmed to play Black Adam, while Darren Lemke was set to write the script. In January 2017, Henry Gayden was hired to rewrite Lemke's script. In February 2017, David F. Sandberg was in talks with the studio to direct Shazam!, Dwayne Johnson was set to first star in a Black Adam solo film, as opposed to appearing as the villain in Shazam!, while Doctor Sivana, another archnemesis of Shazam, became the Shazam! film's main villain.

By July 2017, the studio had begun active development on Shazam! and Sandberg was confirmed as director, with production to begin in early 2018. Dwayne Johnson relayed that a different creative team was now involved than when he first signed on to the film, and stated his excitement over the studio's decision to split the film into two separate movies. After being cast as the lead, Zachary Levi stated in an interview, "the idea is that it's gonna feel like the movie Big, but with super powers" when he was asked about what direction DC Films and New Line Cinema are going for with Shazam! The film was later stated by Warner Bros. to be based on the 2012-2013 Shazam! backup feature from the Justice League comic book by writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank, which told a modernized version of Shazam's origin.


In August 2017, director David F. Sandberg stated that the film would be the next to shoot in the DC universe, and by the end of the month, it had begun pre-production. By October 2017, cinematographer Maxime Alexandre and production designer Jennifer Spence, who previously worked with Sandberg on Annabelle: Creation, were added to the production. The next month, Aquaman stunt coordinator Kyle Gardiner was hired to work on the film's action sequences. On January 12, 2018, the film's release date was officially announced.


By September 2014, Dwayne Johnson was set to portray Black Adam in the film, but by July 2017, he had left the project to pursue a Black Adam solo film. In August 2017, the casting process for Shazam and other characters for the film had begun. Sandberg had stated in an interview that instead of de-aging an actor using special effects or CGI, he would cast both a child actor and an adult actor for the role of the main character. Zachary Levi, John Cena, Zane Holtz, Jake McDorman, Derek Theler and Billy Magnussen had all met with and/or auditioned for Sandberg for the role of Shazam. By October 2017, Levi was cast in the titular role. In November, Grace Fulton joined the cast as Mary Bromfield, one of Billy Batson's foster siblings. Fulton is reteaming with the director after Annabelle: Creation. Later that month, Mark Strong was in final negotiations to play Dr. Sivana. The British actor confirmed he will be playing the role by January 2018. By November 2017, Asher Angel was cast as the titular hero's child-age alter ego Billy Batson. In December, Jack Dylan Grazer was cast as Freddy Freeman, Batson's best friend. Later that month, Jovan Armand, Ian Chen, Faithe Herman, and Cooper Andrews were cast as Pedro Pea, Eugene Choi, and Darla Dudley, while Andrews will portray Victor Vazquez, Batson's foster parent.

By January 2018, Ron Cephas Jones entered talks to play the role of the wizard Shazam, who grants Batson his powers. Later that month, Spanish actress Marta Milans joined the cast to play one of the foster parents at the home where Billy lives. By the end of January 2018, actress Lotta Losten, wife of director David F. Sandberg, revealed that she has a role in the film. On April 23, 2018, Ross Butler was announced to have joined the cast. In July, it was announced that Djimon Hounsou had replaced Jones as the wizard Shazam during filming, due to Jones having scheduling conflicts. Henry Cavill was in talks to reprise his role as Superman from previous DCEU films for a cameo, but was unable to because of scheduling conflicts.


Principal photography for Shazam! began in Toronto and Hamilton, in Ontario, Canada on January 29, 2018, under the working title Franklin, and was scheduled to wrap by mid-May 2018. The film is set primarily in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and firmly established within the DCEU. A majority of the production was shot at Pinewood Toronto Studios and also held on several public locations around the city, including the University of Toronto and Woodbine Shopping Centre. In early March 2018, filming took place at Fort York National Historic Site in downtown Toronto. By early May 2018, Asher Angel, among other young cast members, finished filming his part. Principal photography wrapped on May 11, 2018. Additional photography took place in Toronto between November and December 2018. Shazam! had a filming budget of as low $80-90 million (and about $100 million once post-production was complete), making it the cheapest DCEU film to-date. Footage of the skyline and aerial shots, as well as other location work, were filmed in the city of Philadelphia in December 2018 as well.


David F. Sandberg's two-time collaborator Michel Aller served as the editor for Shazam!. Mike Wassel (Hellboy II: The Golden Army and The Fast and the Furious franchise) and Kelvin McIlwain (Aquaman) were the overall visual effects supervisors for the film. Technicolor's VFX studios Mr. X (known for The Shape of Water and Tron: Legacy) and Moving Picture Company (MPC) are providing visual effects. Rodeo FX, Digital Domain, and Rise FX are also working on the VFX for the film.


On July 21, 2018, Benjamin Wallfisch was announced as the composer for Shazam!, marking the third collaboration with director David F. Sandberg after previously scoring Sandberg's Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation. Wallfisch previously provided additional music for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the second film in the DC Extended Universe.


In April 2018, a first look at Shazam! made its debut at CinemaCon convention in Las Vegas, Nevada with director David F. Sandberg introducing the behind-the-scene footage. During an interview with Film Riot Podcast in June 2018, Sandberg stated that "On this one, it was just like 'Yeah, I want this to be a classic superhero movie.' It takes place in the winter, so it's a lot of dark exteriors, but with a lot of colorful lights and stuff around them." On July 21, 2018, the first teaser trailer was shown at San Diego Comic-Con during the Warner Bros. panel at Hall H, with Sandberg, Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, and Jack Dylan Grazer in attendance. The trailer was later released online. It received a favorable response from journalists and audiences, who praised its humorous, zany tone.

New footage from the film made its debut at Brazil Comic Con (CCXP) in So Paulo on December 9, 2018 during the Warner Bros. studio panel, with the footage described for the attendees as action packed. A new trailer was released on March 4, and a three-minute sneak peek was included with the digital home media of Aquaman.

At the STP 500 on March 24, 2019, Shazam! was the primary sponsor of Aric Almirola and the #10 Ford Mustang in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Almirola would go on to finish 9th after starting 2nd.


Shazam! premiered in Toronto on March 15, 2019, and is scheduled for release in the United States by Warner Bros. Pictures in RealD 3D, Dolby Cinema and IMAX 3D on April 5, 2019.

On March 13, 2019, the Chinese release date of the film was announced as April 5, 2019, day and date with the US release. The same day, Warner Bros. Pictures announced that they were teaming up with Fandango for exclusive preview screenings on March 23, two weeks before release on 1,200 select screens and 40 exhibition circuits.


Box office

In the United States and Canada, Shazam! will be released alongside The Best of Enemies and Pet Sematary, and is projected to gross $40-50 million from 4,260 theaters in its opening weekend. Two weeks before its release, the film grossed $3.3 million from Fandango advance screenings, higher than the $2.9 million made by fellow DCEU film Aquaman the previous December.

Critical response

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 93% based on 173 reviews, with an average rating of 7.42/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "An effortlessly entertaining blend of humor and heart, Shazam! is a superhero movie that never forgets the genre's real power: joyous wish fulfillment." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 72 out of 100, based on 42 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".

The Hollywood Reporters Frank Scheck called the film "Big on steroids" and praised the tone and performances. Alonso Duralde of TheWrap wrote "If the Wonder Woman and Aquaman movies represented DC Comics' first big-screen steps away from the austere color palette of the Zack Snyder movies, Shazam! takes us deeply into primary colors in a single bound... this new DC entry has a lovely lightness, both in the visuals and in its tone."

Writing for The A. V. Club, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky gave the film a "B?" and said: "But while the story of an extremely overpowered champion rising to challenge a one-dimensionally sinister baddie might seem like the epitome of simplicity, Shazam! is still a modern-day tentpole blockbuster, overburdened with backstories for both hero and villain and subtexts that it can't (or won't) fully articulate". Benjamin Lee of The Guardian gave the film 3/5 stars, wrote "The finale, while admirably self-contained and small-scale, grinds on for far too long, a boring escalation of anti-climaxes that cumulatively dull the intended emotional impact. It's a film in need of a tighter edit with a script in need of a sharper polish, an imperfect franchise-launcher that nonetheless represents significant progress for DC."

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