Weekend Box Office Forecast (Update): Shazam! Fury of the Gods Draws $3.4M Thursday Previews, Paces for a Soft $30-35M+ Strike in Debut

Photo Credits: Warner Bros. ("Shazam! Fury of the Gods"); Paramount ("Scream VI"); MGM ("Creed III")

Friday Update: Warner Bros. reports this morning that Shazam! Fury of the Gods drew $3.4 million from Thursday’s domestic previews beginning at 3pm across 3,400-plus locations.

That figures comes in slightly higher than expected in bearish forecasts earlier this week thanks to walk-up business that drove the figure north of $3 million. However, the film fell 42 percent short of the first Shazam!‘s $5.9 million Thursday previews in April 2019 (excluding another $3.325 million from Fandango previews held in March that year).

As weekend projections are impacted, the film has a much better shot at clearing $30 million now if Saturday can somewhat mimic the first film’s healthy bump. Spring Break may have some say in the daily trajectories, though.

Entering the weekend, Warner Bros. expected at least $35 million for the domestic debut, in line with last week’s conservative long range update published before concerns over pre-sales and reviews took a tighter grip this week. Wednesday’s range and pinpoint forecast below look to have been a slight under-correction in response to tepid pre-sales and lukewarm reviews, though by how much remains to seen at the end of the weekend.

Wednesday Report: March box office has been rolling thanks to three consecutive box office hits in recent weeks, but will Shazam! Fury of the Gods keep the momentum going?

Unfortunately, the DC universe sequel from Warner Bros. has yet to pick up steam after a sluggish few weeks of buzz and pre-sales. That’s a concerning sign for a franchise film whose predecessor was widely liked (90 percent from critics and 82 percent from audiences, per Rotten Tomatoes) and a brand that had been relying on that goodwill to carry this follow-up.

While some diminished returns were always expected in long range modeling and the first film itself was front-loaded for an origin story of an unknown character, the lack of any interest pop here in the final few days indicates Fury of the Gods might fall below even the most bearish end of recent tracking ranges.

The potential upside, however, could be the film’s natural family play. While pre-sales still favor Thursday’s fan-driven previews over Friday business, the gap is not as large as sharply front-loaded comic book character sequels from other franchises (Marvel). Partly aiding that may be spring break for many schools across the country right now, which may more evenly spread business around Thursday and Friday.

For a measuring stick, Fury of the Gods‘ Friday pre-sales are currently trending close to 15 percent behind the pace of Thursday. Weigh that against Black Adam‘s 17 percent, which started previews one hour later at 4pm Thursday last October. Overall sales, though, are well behind Adam‘s volume by a sharp 60-plus percent from Thursday and Friday combined in independent sampling.

Social media observations most prominent are the lack of an event-level marketing that would usually make an impression that this is a must-see sequel. That could also be tied to the broader audience confusion surrounding some DC films in recent years, and perhaps a casualty of the slight overall downward trend in non-event comic book film releases since 2019.

With minimal competition for family moviegoers over the next three weeks, Fury at least could hope to draw strong walk-up business if casual audience interest prevails.

Still, reaching the first film’s $56.8 million domestic opening weekend is off the table at this point, and there is growing risk of it falling below a $30 million threshold barring an eleventh hour turnaround.

Not aiding matters for final forecasts is the fact that Warner Bros. has embargoed reviews up until this point. For a franchise film with little need to protect against spoilers, that’s not a great vote of confidence.

Ultimately, though, the market has been packed with films appealing to various audience quadrants recently, so it’s not impossible for this to buck some trends amid the pre-release tracking clutter.

The studio is releasing Fury of the Gods at an estimated 4,000 locations with Thursday previews beginning at 3pm. They expect an opening weekend of $35 million.

On the remaining new release and holdover front:

  • Scream VI should ride its wave of mostly positive audience reception like its 2022 predecessor, which declined 59.3 percent from an inflated MLK holiday bow. This new entry will lose its premium screen format to the Shazam! sequel, but otherwise won’t significantly cross over with the target audience.
  • Creed III will shed the bulk of its remaining premium footprint as well, while also facing fresh competition for the adult male audience. That said, its own strong word of mouth should limit damage in weekend 3, especially if Fury of the Gods meets lowered expectations.
  • Best Picture Oscar winner Everything Everywhere All at Once will expand to approximately 1,500 locations this weekend (up from 584 last) following its seven-time Academy Award night this past weekend.
  • Roadside Attractions will release Moving On at approximately 850 venues this weekend.
  • Focus Features’ Inside is projected to open at more than 300 theaters this weekend.

Weekend Ranges

Shazam! Fury of the Gods
Opening Weekend Range: $24 – 32 million

Weekend Forecast & Location Count Projections

Current projection ranges call for a 16 to 24 percent decline from last weekend’s $113.4 million top ten aggregate.

Film Studio 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, March 19 Fri Location Count Projection (as of Wed) 3-Day % Change from Last Wknd
Shazam! Fury of the Gods Warner Bros. Pictures $27,600,000 $27,600,000 ~4,000 NEW
Scream VI Paramount Pictures $19,000,000 $77,100,000 ~3,675 -57%
Creed III MGM $18,200,000 $130,200,000 ~3,650 -33%
65 Sony Pictures / Columbia $5,600,000 $22,000,000 ~3,405 -55%
Cocaine Bear Universal Pictures $4,200,000 $58,700,000 ~2,800 -33%
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Disney & Marvel Studios $4,100,000 $205,300,000 ~2,700 -43%
Jesus Revolution Lionsgate $3,800,000 $45,800,000 ~2,400 -26%
Champions Focus Features $3,600,000 $11,100,000 ~3,028 -30%
Avatar: The Way of Water Disney & 20th Century Studios $2,000,000 $678,000,000 ~1,200 -24%
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish Universal Pictures & DreamWorks Animation $1,400,000 $182,300,000 ~1,700 -20%

All forecasts are subject to revision/finalization before the first confirmation of opening previews or Friday estimates from studios or official sources.

Theater counts are either studio estimates OR unofficial projections if preceded by “~”.

The above table does not necessarily represent the top ten as some studios do not finalize weekend location counts and/or an intent to report box office returns prior to publishing.

Photo Credits: Warner Bros. ("Shazam! Fury of the Gods"); Paramount ("Scream VI"); MGM ("Creed III")
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