The studio’s last superhero flick to wow mainland audiences was the James Wan-directed “Aquaman,” which made a super-sized $298 million in the country, making it the studio’s top-grossing title in the Middle Kingdom to date, as well as the fifteenth highest grossing film in China of all time.
“Aquaman” debuted in China two weeks before its U.S. release. “Shazam” was much less expensive to produce than its aquatic counterpart, commanding a production budget of just $80 million — less than half of what it took to bring the Jason Momoa-starring film to life.
“Shazam” is latest hero to break out on the big screen from the DC universe in what has been touted as a more light-hearted and humorous adventure than those in the franchise’s “Justice League” films. The story follows a young boy (Asher Angel) who turns into an adult superhero (Zachary Levi) every time someone says the titular word.
Chinese movie site Mtime wrote that “the film’s lightness and humor, and the amusing family life it presents rarely seen in other superhero films has earned big likes from critics.” Early tracking has suggested that “Shazam!” could bring in as much as $40 million in ticket sales in North America.