Why Shazam! 2's Director Isn't Worried About Avatar 2 Box Office Battle

The director of Shazam! Fury of the Gods is not worried about going up against Avatar: The Way of the Water at the box office. Shazam! Fury of the Gods marketing campaign has finally begun as audiences got their first look at the film at San Diego Comic-Con with the debut of the first teaser. While initially set for release in summer 2023, after The Flash and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom were delayed, Shazam! Fury of the Gods was bumped up.

However, Shazam! Fury of the Gods will now face stiff competition as it opens close to the highly anticipated Avatar: The Way of Water. The hit sequel of the highest-grossing film of all time and thirteen-year wait, Avatar: The Way of Water, is the major movie of the holiday season. Universal Pictures has already delayed the animated Mario movie's original December 2022 release date to Easter 2023 to avoid the competition, but Shazam! Fury of the Gods is standing its ground.


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In an interview with Slashfilm, Shazam! Fury of the Gods director David F. Sanberg weighed in on the box office battle between the two sequels. Sanberg acknowledges that Avatar: The Way of Water will be the big movie of the holiday season but thinks there is plenty of room for multiple movies to be hits at the box office. He cited the 2009 holiday season when the first Avatar movie opened as an example of why he isn't worried. Sanberg said:

"He should be very scared. This is the end of James Cameron. (laughs) No, I think it's actually good, because they're such different movies. I mean, look at the first 'Avatar.' There were other movies that came out at the same time and did really well ... especially at Christmas ... everybody knows that 'Avatar' is going to be, like, the biggest movie ever. I'm going to go see it. But yeah, there's room for 'Shazam!' too."

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Sanberg has a point: in 2009, Warner Bros. released Sherlock Holmes the week after Avatar, and while Sherlock Holmes never took the number 1 spot away from Avatar, it still managed to be a massive hit that holiday season grossing $209 million domestically and $524 million worldwide. That same holiday season, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel also opened and grossed $219 million domestically over the holiday season. 2018 saw four major holiday releases: Aquaman, Mary Poppins Returns, Bumblebee, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and all managed to find an audience, with Aquaman grossing $1 billion, Mary Poppins Returns turned into a solid family hit, Bumblebee getting the best reviews of the Transformers series and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse won an Academy Award.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods has already given itself some space from Avatar: The Way of Water as Warner Bros. bumped the release date from December 16 to December 21, 2022. This allows Avatar: The Way of Water a five-day head start, and Shazam! Fury of the Gods has some breathing room to show up as the new movie before Christmas. Shazam! Fury of the Gods will likely be able to hold solid business through January and might be able to hold off Sony's Kraven the Hunter.