Back to IndieWire

Sinbad’s ’Shazaam’: Inside the Internet’s Conspiracy Theory About a Non-Existent Movie

The imaginary film stars Sinbad as a genie who grants wishes to two children.




Comedian David Adkins, better known by his stage name Sinbad, has starred in many films in the 90s, including “Necessary Roughness,” “Houseguest” and even the Kenan & Kel vehicle “Good Burger.” But one movie he didn’t star in is “Shazaam,” about an incompetent genie who grants wishes to two children. However, that hasn’t stopped hundreds of people online from claiming that the film is real, believing that they saw it sometime in the 90s.

READ MORE: Sundance Review: ‘Dr. Strangelove’ Meets Christopher Guest in Moon Conspiracy Tale ‘Operation Avalanche’

The New Statesman reports that the community of “Shazaam” truthers has proliferated on Reddit, specifically under the subreddit r/MandelaEffect. The Mandela Effect is a “theory that a large group of people with the same false memory used to live in a parallel universe,” deriving from the idea that many people believe Nelson Mandela died while in prison. On this subreddit, many share detailed memories of “Shazaam” and claim that the film has disappeared from existence.

However, what does exist is a 1996 film entitled “Kazaam,” starring basketball played Shaquille O’Neal as a genie who helps a young boy find his father, but those who believe in the existence of “Shazaam” just claim this to be a twin film, like “A Bug’s Life” and “Antz.”

READ MORE: Sundance Review: Existential And Odd Post-Snowden Indie Conspiracy Comedy Thriller ‘Jacqueline (Argentine)’

Sinbad himself has denied the existence of this film in multiple tweets. He cites a “Sinbad the Sailor” movie marathon he hosted dressed as a genie as a possible explanation for the phenomenon.

Read the full New Statesman report for a more comprehensive examination of the conspiracy theory.

Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Film and tagged ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox