Shazam 2 director says he’s ‘done with superheroes’ after sequel bombs

Shazam! director David F Sandberg has vowed to leave the world of superheroes behind for a while after his sequel bombed at the box office.

Shazam: Fury of the Gods took just $30.5m on its opening weekend at the US box office, down more than $20m from the first film’s domestic opening in 2019.

The DC Comics film cost $110m to make and Warner Bros spent another $100m in marketing, making a financial failure seem more than likely for the movie.

The news was no better on Rotten Tomatoes where its critics’ score sits at 53 per cent. The original boasts a 90 per cent score.

“On Rotten Tomatoes I just got my lowest critic score and my highest audience score on the same film,” Sandberg tweeted on Monday (20 March).

“I wasn’t expecting a repeat of the first movie critically but I was still a little surprised because I think it’s a good film,” he added.

“Oh well. As I’ve been saying for a while now I’m very eager to go back to horror (as well as trying some new things). After six years of Shazam I’m definitely done with superheroes for now.”

The Swedish filmmaker got his break in the industry directing horror movies such as 2016’s Lights Out (based on his short film) and Annabelle: Creation, which was produced by the current DC Studios head Peter Safran.

“Just to be clear, I don’t regret even for a second making the Shazam movies,” Sandberg added on Twitter.

“I’ve learned so much and gotten to work with some truly amazing people. Will forever be grateful that I got to direct two of these! They’ve been very challenging but valuable experiences.”

However, Sandberg added that’s he’s looking forward to “disconnecting from the superhero discourse online”.

“A lot of that stresses me out so much and it will be nice not having to think about that anymore,” he said.

The director’s comments come after his star Rachel Zegler (West Side Story) defended the sequel against “senselessly mean” criticisms.

“Hey our film is actually really good!” she wrote on Twitter. “But mostly i just absolutely loved making it and the people i met whilst doing so :) go see it! give it a chance. we have an 85 per cent audience score [on Rotten Tomatoes] for a reason.”

In a two-star review for The Independent, Clarrise Loughrey described Fury of the Gods as “a film that isn’t without promise, but feels far too messy and corporatised to have any real affection for”.

Last week, Zegler had an unusually candid response when asked what drove her to take on a role in the DC superhero franchise.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods is out in cinemas now.