Even though we haven’t heard much about it aside from its 2018 Comic Con trailer, Shazam is shaping up to be a highly anticipated DCEU movie, perhaps more so in light of Aquaman‘s success. A trailer-TV Spot dropped yesterday with a new trailer expected soon (possibly today) and there’s been some promotional material here and there. Recently however, conversation around the movie was fueled by its reported production budget, as well as an insane amount of money cost by the costumes worn by Zachary Levi’s superhero in the film.
Costume designer Leah Butler gave an interview on the film’s costumes, some quotes from which quickly began doing the rounds. She guesstimated that a single Shazam suit cost around $1 million and the production made around 10 of these for the movie. Explaining the huge cost around the suit, she elaborated that it was a highly complex piece, comprising of spandex over a muscular body suit sculpted around Levi’s body. The suit’s lightning bolt was also powered by circuitry that included a 26-Volt battery and could be remote-controlled to turn ON or OFF. Here’s her quote on the suit:
The exterior suit is a spandex suit that goes over a musculature suit, and each muscle has been sculpted on the body of Zach (Levi) so it accents and highlights his shape and size. There is actually a battery in the back – we luckily had a cape to cover it all up or I don’t know where we would have put all that stuff – and it is remotely lit through a switchboard operator. There is wiring throughout the costume. It’s a 26-volt AA rechargeable battery. It lasts about two hours at full charge.
Adding fuel to the fire were director David Sandberg’s comments on Reddit, which he shared over Twitter. Sandberg has been quite active on Reddit, often sharing earnest tidbits about the production process of the movie. He revealed that while he wasn’t sure of the exact number, the complications surrounding costume design made him believe it wasn’t something in the realm of implausibility. With the numerous suits, as well as the research gone behind each suit, not to mention the multiple versions they come up with before locking down the final one all add-up to a very high cost indeed. What he did clarify though was, the cost encompasses all of these points.
For those for whom the Twitter plugin won’t load, here’s his complete quote in context:
I never saw a price tag so I don’t know the exact number. Wouldn’t surprise me though. The thing is that it’s not the price for one suit. In developing a suit like this you basically have to build it several times over to get things right. Like there were many different bolts made. Ones with different bolt shapes, ones with different ways of lighting up, etc. There were different versions of the fabric made in different shades, different patterns, and so on and different version had to be camera tested.
And once you nail down the design, the material and all other details you then have to make multiples and ones for stunts etc. Even during shooting you have to do upgrades. Like some of you have seen in early pics the boots were originally very different but those were falling apart and had to be redesigned. The internal wiring to light up the bolt and gauntlets turned out to be too thin and would break so that had to be updated with a new system and so on. The early gauntlets restricted Zac’s hand movement too much.
So it’s not like it’s one million dollars in material, or that making one of these would cost that much. It’s the whole process and making multiple copies and versions.
So there’s that. But recently, The Hollywood Reporter added another piece to the puzzle. In their newsletter, they revealed that the budget of Shazam is around $80 – $90 million, quite a small amount for a superhero production of that scale. This makes it even more confusing since it now appears that around 10 percent of the movie’s production budget was allocated just to the Shazam suits? Something doesn’t sound right.
The Hollywood Reporter claims though that the actual cost of the suits should be in the range of $50,000 – $60,000 per suit, rather than the quoted $1 million. If true, that would mean all 10 costumes together cost anywhere between $500,000 – $600,000 which is a reasonable number even for a movie with a budget lesser than its contemporary counterparts. My guess is, the costumes combined cost around $1 million to make and Leah misspoke by revealing that number to be for each costume, instead of all costumes.
So what do you think about all this? What does the actual budget of Shazam look like to you and how much do you think the costumes cost? Let us know your guesses in the comments below.