Shazam suit

Superhero movies are expensive to make. The upcoming Shazam! is no exception. If you’d like an idea of just how much cash gets sunk into a film like this, costume designer Leah Butler recently revealed that it cost “upwards of a million” dollars to create Zachary Levi‘s Shazam suit, and that at least 10 suits were made. After word of the super-expensive super-suit broke, director David F. Sandberg weighed int o explain why.

During a conversation with TotalFilm (via Syfy), Shazam! costume designer Leah Butler dropped some info on how much work – and money – went into turning Zachary Levi into a superhero. “The exterior suit is a spandex suit that goes over a musculature suit, and each muscle has been sculpted on the body of Zach so it accents and highlights his shape and size,” Butler said. “There is actually a battery in the back – we luckily had a cape to cover it all up or I don’t know where we would have put all that stuff – and it is remotely lit through a switchboard operator…There is wiring throughout the costume. It’s a 26-volt AA rechargeable battery. It lasts about two hours at full charge.”

Butler added that it took about 16 weeks to built the suit, saying: “We had to scan Zach’s body and start building the costume even before he started his very strict regime — his diet and working out.” And how much did all of this cost? “Each suit costs, oh boy, upwards of a million?” Butler revealed. “We have ten suits.”

So there’s $10 million spent on one character’s costume alone. That’s not small potatoes, folks. Why would it cost so much to create that costume? Director David F. Sandberg has the answers. The director took to social media to explain. After saying he really doesn’t know how much the suit cost, he went into details. “In developing a suit like this you basically have to build it several times over to get things right,” Sandberg wrote, adding: “Once you nail down the design, the material and all other details you then have to make multiples and ones for stunts etc….so it’s not like it’s one million dollars in material, or that making one of these would cost that much. It’s the whole process…”

Makes sense. You can read Sandberg’s full statement on the costume process below.

Shazam!, starring Zachary Levi, Zachary Levi’s expensive costume, Mark Strong, Jack Dylan Grazer, Grace Fulton, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Faithe Herman, Cooper Andrews, Marta Milans and Djimon Hounsou, opens April 5, 2019.

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