Is James Gunn’s DCU Reboot to Blame for Shazam 2’s Box Office Flop? WB Seems to Think So

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Since James Gunn and Peter Safran became co-CEOs, we learned that the plan is to completely reboot the DCEU. They decided they wouldn’t even continue the Snyderverse and botched Henry Cavill’s Superman despite having him appear in Black Adam.

The DCEU is becoming the DCU, and although it was advertised as a ‘soft reboot,’ it feels super quick and sudden to most fans. And then, the first DCU project came into play after Gunn took over.

It was Shazam! Fury of the Gods – and boy, was it a flop. With an estimated budget of $125 million, the movie amassed just over $132 million worldwide – which is, to say the least, incredibly bad. Is the quick DCU reboot to blame? Well, according to the newest reports, Warner Brothers seems to think so – at least partially.

How bad was Shazam 2’s box office flop?

Shazam! Fury of the Gods has an estimated budget of at least $100 million, but likely closer to $125 million. Expectations were low, seeing that the character likely isn’t in plans for the future of the DCU and the box office trends of the DCEU so far. However, Shazam 2 botched even those low expectations.

The estimations for the film’s opening hovered between $35-38 million in domestic box office numbers. However, the film dropped to around $30.5 million for the launch. It was the worst DCEU opening ever, and it never got better. The movie amassed $132 million worldwide, and with an estimated budget of $125 million – it’s a major bomb.


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To compare, MCU’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania was considered a big flop, amassing $474 million worldwide on an estimated $200 million budget. Heck, even Black Adam, DC(E)U’s most talked-about flop, garnered $393 million worldwide on an estimated $195 million budget.

Needless to say, Shazam! Fury of the Gods was a disaster. But who’s to blame?

Is James Gunn’s DCU reboot really to blame for Shazam 2’s flop?

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As I’ve mentioned, reports suggest that Warner Bros. Discovery believes that James Gunn’s DCU reboot is to blame – at least partially – for the big box office flop. And, of course, I can see that being true, but only fractionally.

The future of Shazam in the DCU is uncertain. Likely, after the reboot is ‘completed’ with the new The Flash movie coming out in June 2023, Shazam won’t be a part of the franchise anymore. At least, not in this lineup we’ve seen so far.

Therefore, perhaps some fans lost interest in watching Shazam 2 in theaters and opted to wait for its arrival on HBO Max. However, that can only be a tiny part of the box office flop. I mean, if the movie was good, the movie was good, and people would watch it regardless of the character’s DCU future.

In reality, that ‘Gunn’s DCU reboot is to blame’ idea is just a PR spin to make the movie not appear as bad as it was. And that’s not coming from me – just look at the IMDb reviews. Nobody’s talking about the DCU reboot or James Gunn. They’re talking about the movie and how bad it was.

One review stated that ‘Shazam is supposed to have the wisdom of Solomon, and if he had exhibited it, then maybe this movie would have been better, but once again, the character plays the fool. He is directionless and must seek help from Mary and Eugene. (…) The wizard, who has lived thousands of years, now acts as if he is as young and stupid as Shazam.’


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Others used pretty much the same words – cringe, boring, forgettable, wasted potential, cliche, mediocre at best, disappointing… you get the point. Some fans even criticized Zachary Levi and his performance.

Honestly, I felt the movie was bleak and lacked the charm the first movie had. Sure, it’s a bit silly that Shazam’s wisdom never seems to come to fruition, but if you’ve read the comics, you’d know that Billy is childish and goofy in the comics as well. 

The problem I had with the movie was that it lacked the hearty humor of the first, and instead, it felt like a cringe-fest of (mostly) bad jokes and a super straightforward plot with no twists, catches, or depth. Superficial, to say the least.

With all that being said, is James Gunn’s DCU reboot to blame for the movie’s flop?

I think that WB should thank James Gunn for rebooting the DCU and hope that such bad movies won’t be released under his watch.

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