'Shazam!' Box Office Exceeds Expectations, Gets Dwayne Johnson Excited For Black Adam Arrival

This past weekend, Shazam! bolted into theaters as the next chapter in the ever-changing landscape of the DC Extended Universe, and it sounds like audiences were very pleased with what they got from the superhero played by Zachary Levi. Along with a 92% Certified Fresh rating from critics at Rotten Tomatoes and a 90% score from audience, Shazam! also landed an "A" CinemaScore. So it should come as no surprise that the Shazam box office haul took the movie to the #1 spot on the charts, and executive producer Dwayne Johnson couldn't be more thrilled, especially since this paves the way for him to arrive in the DCEU as Shazam villain Black Adam.

Shazam! racked up a $53.4 million opening weekend, according to Box Office Mojo. That might not be as high as previous DC Comics titles, but it's not too far behind the $57.2 million debut of Marvel's Ant-Man. Combined with the March sneak preview box office, the movie stands at $56.7 million domesticaly. That's not bad at all, especially when you consider the fact that Shazam! is roughly on the same ground with general audience awareness.

Internationally, Shazam! pulled in another $102 million from the 79 international markets it opened in this past weekend (though it won't hit Japan until April 19), including a $30.9 million debut in China. So even without throwing up huge numbers like some of Marvel's heavy hitters or the previous installments of the DC Extended Universe, this movie is still doing very well at the box office. And word of mouth should give it some solid follow-up in the next three weeks before Avengers: Endgame hits theaters.

Shazam! Paves the Way for Black Adam

Anyone who has been following the rise of Shazam! to the big screen for the first time will tell you that Dwayne Johnson has been a big supporter of the movie. Not only is Dwayne Johnson and executive producer of the movie, but at one time, he had the choice of either playing Shazam or the superhero's villain Black Adam, and he chose the latter. Originally, the Shazam movie was going to feature Black Adam prominently, but that changed behind the scenes, and Johnson has revealed it was actually his choice to pull back and wait for a debut in the DCEU after Shazam had been established on his own. In a video on Instagram thanking fans for all their support, Johnson said:

"This project Shazam, we had some challenges, and we took a risk. That risk is as we were developing this a few years ago...we were trying to tell two origin stories in one script...

Those who know the comic books and the mythology of Shazam knows that Shazam is connected to Black Adam. Black Adam is an anti-hero, or villain, who I cannot wait to play. I've been developing this, and it's been with me in my DNA for over 10 years. We should start shooting that in about a year. I'm very excited about that.

The challenges were, as you guys can imagine, you're trying to tell two very big origin stories in the world of comic books of this DC universe. Two very important characters trying to tell both their origin stories in one script. I didn't think it was working. Finally, I called up Warner Bros., Toby Emmerich, my good buddy who runs Warner Bros., and I said, 'Brother, we have to split these stories and make two different movies.' He said, 'You know what? It is a great idea and let's do it.'"

Of course, even though Black Adam doesn't make an appearance in Shazam!, the mid-credits scene sets up a future in which not only Black Adam will be involved, but other characters from the Shazam comics. The scene in question involves Dr. Sivana being approached by a talking caterpillar known as Mr. Mind. For anyone who doesn't know the comics, this scene makes zero sense beyond this character telling Dr. Sivana that there are other ways to obtain magical powers than the path he tried before.

Without getting to deep into what this means for the future of Shazam!, just know that Mr. Mind is the head of the Monster Society of Evil, and he has his sights set on controlling the seven realms of the universe. It could be a path to bringing in Black Adam as the new villain, perhaps with an assist by Dr. Sivana and his new caterpillar buddy. You can learn more about what that might mean over here.

In the meantime, you can enjoy Shazam! in theaters everywhere right now, and the sequel will arrive in due time.