Shazam! Director Reveals A VFX Mistake That Still Haunts Him

"Shazam: Fury of the Gods" recently made headlines for bumping up its release date from 2023 to December 2022 so that it will now be squaring off against James Cameron's "Avatar 2," the sequel to the highest-grossing film of all time, on opening weekend. Director David F. Sandberg took the news in stride, joking that Cameron "must be shaking in his boots right now." Sandberg also used the news as a way of reflecting back on a visual effects blooper from the first "Shazam" movie that still haunts him.

On Twitter, Forbes writer Scott Mendelson tweeted at the "Fury of the Gods' director that he "could always pull a 'Rogue Nation'" — a reference to the fifth "Mission: Impossible" movie, which was originally scheduled for a Christmas 2015 release before the studio moved it up to July of that year. Sandberg replied with a clip from the boardroom scene in "Shazam," saying: "You know, I'd rather take my chances against Avatar if it means not having to rush VFX. It's been 3 years and I'm still thinking about stuff like this."

In the clip, Mark Strong's character, Dr. Sivana, stretches his hand toward one of the demons embodying the Seven Deadly Sins in his father's boardroom. Can you spot the VFX mistake?

Look at Sivana's thumb

When I first watched the clip, I have to admit that I couldn't see anything wrong with it other than that Sivana's hand comes a little too close to one creature's tongue. If you keep a close eye on his thumb, however, you can see it has a slight "aura" that becomes visible when his hand passes over the darker background of the CG monster behind him. 

The mistake in "Shazam" is really only noticeable because Sandberg zooms in on it and plays the film back frame by frame. The vast majority of moviegoers would probably never catch such a tiny error in the background of the boardroom scene, which you can see in 4K HDR on YouTube. Yet it still bugs Sandberg that this one little flub made it into his movie. It just goes to show that sometimes we're our own worst critics!

As someone with OCD tendencies, I can definitely relate to that. For me as a writer and reader, it's constantly disheartening to see typos appear in my own work — and all across the movie blogosphere, where sites are competing to post time-sensitive news, with their contributors chasing one-hour or even half-hour deadlines the way studio filmmakers are forced to chase release dates (and the way that Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man was compelled to deliver pizzas).

I can't speak for other writers, but if you ever notice a sloppy error in an article with my name on it, feel free to drop me a line on Twitter with a clip zooming in on the mistake the way Sandberg has done with his "Shazam" clip. I will forward it to my editor, and with any luck, we'll be able to run some lightning-quick "Shazam" magic on it.

"Shazam! Fury of the Gods" is set for release on December 16, 2022.