When it comes to evaluating the financial performance of top movies, it isn’t about what a film grosses at the box office. The true tale is told when production budgets, P&A, talent participations and other costs collide with box office grosses and ancillary revenues from VOD to DVD and TV. To get close to that mysterious end of the equation, Deadline is repeating our Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament for 2019, using data culled by seasoned and trusted sources.
Shazam! was the latest effort to broaden the DC/Warner Bros canon and brighten the picture after the unrelentingly dark streak that brought Batman v Superman and Justice League. Last seen 46 years earlier on a CBS TV show, Shazam! showed there was room for a comparatively modest-budgeted film with a lot of laughs to go with the inevitable third-act villain clash. New Line kept the production cost low at $100 million, half of what DC fare like Aquaman cost before P&A, and they bet on a star — Zachary Levi — instead of paying an established one. It was clear it was working early on with positive social media reports from San Diego Comic-Con footage and early screenings — which added to the gross through a Fandango partnership program that rang up a notable $3.3M in advance of the movie’s $53.5M domestic and $155.5M worldwide weekend openings. Warner Bros smartly opened Shazam! away from Captain Marvel in early March and Avengers: Endgame on the calendar at the end of April. So the superhero had the multiplexes to himself with some space to breathe.
THE BOX SCORE
Here are the costs and revenues as our experts see them:
THE BOTTOM LINE
Revenues for Shazam! at $336M were nearly as rich as its global box office of $366M. The cash-on-cash return ratio of 1.28 puts it on par with Marvel’s deeper universe character feature, Ant-Man‘s 1.3. Participations were low here at an estimated $5M, with Levi landing his first marquee role. Shazam! is the first superhero title to break into this year’s Deadline’s tournament, and the second New Line film in our top 25 to profit after Annabelle Comes Home. Earning $74M in net profit after $262M in overall costs, it’s no wonder Warner Bros/New Line plans to say Shazam! again, with a sequel in store.