A Troubled DC Movie Is At The Top Of The Streaming Charts

Shazam! is currently streaming as the second most popular film on HBO Max.

By Britta DeVore | Updated

zachary levi the flash

Although audiences haven’t exactly been flocking to see Shazam! Fury of the Gods, some may soon be purchasing tickets to the sequel film as FlixPatrol reveals that the franchise’s first feature, Shazam!, is currently positioned in the number two position on HBO Max. Starring Zachary Levi as the titular superhero, the film posited itself as a more comedic take versus other projects coming from the DC that were leaning on darker dramatics. And, while the first film nearly raked in more than triple its budget, the second feature, which is in theaters now, just didn’t have the same power to keep the story afloat. 

In Shazam!, a teenage boy named Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is granted magnificent powers by an old wizard known as Shazam (Djimon Hounson). Billy is trusted with this set of extra-human skills to be a champion of the people, prepared to stop evil in its footsteps simply by saying the word “Shazam.” When the magic word is said, Billy transforms into a grown-up superhero (Levi), with the first film seeing him and his foster brother, Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), tasked with the job of stopping Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) before he unleashes chaos by the way of the demonic entities known as the Seven Deadly Sins.

Directed by David F. Sandberg (Annabelle: Creation, Lights Out) from a script co-penned by Henry Gayden and Darren Lemke, Shazam! also starred Adam Brody (Jennifer’s Body) as the adult version of Freddy. Filling out the ensemble was Faithe Herman (This Is Us), Meagan Good (Cousin Skeeter), Grace Fulton, Michelle Borth (Tell Me You Love Me), Ian Chen (Fresh Off the Boat), Ross Butler (13 Reasons Why), Jovan Armand, D.J. Cotrona (G.I. Joe: Retaliation), Cooper Andrews (The Walking Dead), and Marta Milans.

First flying into theaters in 2019, Shazam! exceeded expectations, quickly racking up a whopping $367.8 million at the worldwide box office against its budget of somewhere around $100 million. To put it into perspective, 2019 was also the year that both MCU flicks Captain Marvel and the record-breaking Avengers: Endgame came out with Shazam! coming up just behind them in the box office during its fourth weekend. Along with audiences, critics loved the film and the way that it blended action with humor in a new take on superhero-based features. 

shazam jack dylan grazer
Jack Dylan Grazer in Shazam

Currently sitting on Rotten Tomatoes with a 90 percent critics rating, Shazam! finds itself in the number five position of all DC films over the years. As a surprise to no one, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight rests at the top with 94 percent, with Superman: The Movie tied with Wonder Woman at 93 percent. Pulling just ahead of Shazam! is the animated feature Teen Titans Go! To The Movies at 91 percent.

With these incredible ratings in mind, it’s no shock why a sequel was immediately given the green light.

Unfortunately for those at DC, the film’s sequel, Shazam! Fury of the Gods would majorly crash and burn in a way that couldn’t have been predicted back in 2019. But, before we get there, it’s necessary to touch on the film’s spinoff, which in turn had a hand to play in the crash and burn of the sequel.

While the character Black Adam was always attached to the story of Shazam! and Dwayne Johnson was always attached to the superpowered antihero, the studio decided that instead of dropping Teth-Adam in the original movie, they would give him a big-screen feature of his own. Thus, DC’s Black Adam was born.

While Dwayne Johnson talked a big game about how his DC Universe debut would see him coming to blows with Henry Cavill’s Superman, those hopes and dreams all came crashing down upon the film’s theatrical arrival in 2022.

Receiving some less-than-savory reviews from critics, Black Adam currently sits on Rotten Tomatoes with an abysmal rating of 39 percent. And, while he dreamt of a day that Superman and Black Adam would face off, Dwayne Johnson didn’t quite feel the same way about Shazam. The wrestling star-turned-top actor allegedly shut down not only a post-credit scene in his film that would have featured a Shazam cameo but also turned down a Shazam! Fury of the Gods post-credit scene that would have seen a meeting of the Justice Society from Black Adam

dwayne johnson black adam

With Shazam and Black Adam connected through the bestowment of their powers, Dwayne Johnson’s involvement or even support of the second feature could have made all the difference at the box office. Right now, Warner Bros. hopes seem to lie solely on those audiences tuning in and catching the original film on HBO Max, with hopes that they may take a chance to see Shazam! Fury of the Gods in the theater.