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 Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Djimon Hounsou. The plot follows teenager Billy Batson (Angel) as he is chosen by the ancient wizard Shazam (Hounsou) to be his new champion, allowing him to transform into an adult superhero (Levi) with various superpowers. Billy and his foster brother Freddy Freeman (Grazer) must discover Billy’s new powers in order to stop the evil Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Strong) and the Seven Deadly Sins.
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 2009 with director Peter Segal and writer John August and Dwayne Johnson considered to star as the villain Black Adam, but the project fell through; Johnson acts as an executive producer on Shazam!. 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, currently targeted for a December 2021 release. 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! was released in the United States by Warner Bros. Pictures in RealD 3D, Dolby Cinema, IMAX, 4DX, IMAX 3D, and ScreenX on April 5, 2019. The film was a box office success having grossed $366 million worldwide. The film received positive reviews from critics, with praise for Sandberg’s direction and the performances of Levi, Grazer, and Angel, as well as its generally light tone and sense of fun. A sequel, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, is scheduled to be released on June 2, 2023.
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