It’s one thing for critics or the audience to call out Hollywood for making questionable fare. It’s another for stars of said questionable fare to join in.
But Zachary Levi’s got a bone to pick with what he called Hollywood “garbage” at Chicago Fan Expo on Saturday. The star of one of the year’s biggest flops urged attendees to “actively not choose” crap movies, apparently oblivious to the fact that many of them decided to do just that when faced with Shazam! Fury of the Gods.
While voicing his support for the writers’ and actors’ strikes, Levi expressed his frustration with the industry as a whole.
“I personally feel like the amount of content that comes out of Hollywood that is garbage — they don’t care enough to actually make it great for you guys. They don’t,” Levi said to enthusiastic applause.
“How many times do you watch a trailer and go, ‘Oh my god, this looks so cool!’ Then you go to the movie and it’s like, ‘This was what I get?'” Levi continued. “They know that once you’ve already bought the ticket and you’re in the seat, they’ve got your money. And the only way for us to change any of it is to not go to the garbage. We have to actively not choose the garbage. It’ll help. It’ll help a lot.”
It certainly helped put a nail in the coffin of this phase of the DCEU (see also: Black Adam). Speculating on the future of the Shazam! franchise (spoiler: not looking great), Levi bemoaned the critical reception to the sequel to the 2019 hit.
“The audience score is still quite good, but the critics score was, I don’t know, very oddly and perplexingly low, and people were insanely unkind,” he said last month, after previously blaming the movie’s marketing. “Listen, I’ve been a part of things and as much as I wish that they were good, I know that they’re okay, I know they missed a lot. I’m not saying Shazam! Fury of the Gods is some perfect Orson Welles masterpiece, but it’s a good darn movie.”
Audiences did think it was good and darn with an 86 percent rating, compared to a critical rating of 49 percent. Still, word of mouth wasn’t enough to propel Levi and co. to the box office stratosphere, with Fury of the Gods stalling out at $57.6 million domestically.
Levi’s comments, however, beg the question: Who decides what is good? Sure, 86 percent of audiences may have liked Shazam 2, but that’s 86 percent of a relatively small group of people who probably wanted to see Shazam 2 in the first place.
And so will avoiding garbage really make Hollywood produce less garbage? Or does it just need to better market the garbage it already has? Guess we’ll have to wait for that verdict if and when Shazam 3 hits theaters.