Shazam! was released in 2019 to positive reviews and a solid $366 million at the worldwide box office. That may not be a record-breaking sum, but it was an admirable haul for a movie featuring a character who, to non-comic book fans, is a complete non-entity.
Throw in the fact that Zachary Levi is far from a household name, and we'd say the DC Comics adaptation actually did pretty damn well. Horror director David F. Sandberg was at the helm of Shazam!, and impressed fans with his approach to this magical corner of the DC Extended Universe.
However, things could have been much different.
During a recent Instagram Q&A, the filmmaker revealed that prior to boarding Shazam!, 2018's Venom was also on his radar. "I really liked the concept and story and it was with people I like and had worked with before at New Line," Sandberg said, explaining why he chose the DC movie instead.
"I read the script for and had a meeting about Venom but I was already going down the path of Shazam and felt that I'd rather do that than pursue Venom."
Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer was chosen to helm the Marvel movie, of course, and while it was a massive box office success with $856 million worldwide, it was a critical flop. We'd have loved to see what Sandberg delivered in comparison, though it's hard to imagine him being able to do much better with that dismal screenplay.
For what it's worth, the director would go on to say, "I thought Venom turned out quite good though."
Sandberg currently remains hard at work putting the finishing touches to Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and we're assuming a third chapter could be next for him. That will hinge on the sequel's box office performance and future plans for the Black Adam franchise, though.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods arrives in theaters on March 17, 2023.