DC has confirmed that the Shazam! movie will be the next addition to their superhero universe. The debut of young Billy Batson, who gains the ability to become an adult superhero when he yells “Shazam”, will have David F. Sandberg at the helm. Peter Safran, who worked with Sandberg on the Annabelle sequel and is also producing Aquaman, is in negotiations to board Shazam! as producer. The project is looking to go before cameras in January or February of next year with a likely release in 2019.
It’s not clear whether Dwayne Johnson, who has long been attached to play Shazam! villain Black Adam, will be involved with the project, but he is attached as star and producer of the Black Adam spinoff being developed concurrently to Shazam! Johnson told MTV back in April that plans had changed regarding the introduction of Shazam and Black Adam in the same movie.
“What we decided to do was to create a scenario where Black Adam has his stand-alone movie, and Captain Marvel, Shazam, has his stand-alone movie. We’re building our world that way, and then we can come together at some point.”
Following the success of Wonder Woman, Warners is probably breathing a sigh of relief regarding its DCU and earlier this week slotted two DC movies on the release calendar for 2020. It has several films queuing up on the runway, but at this stage, Shazam! will take off first.
Flash was delayed by a lack of a director, while a sequel to Wonder Woman is only in the early treatment writing stage. Joss Whedon is overseeing postproduction and reshoots on Justice League and won’t be ready to tackle a Batgirl film until after the former is out the door. A sequel to Suicide Squad is eyeing a mid-2018 start.
Sandberg seems to be New Line’s new golden boy and it sees him very much as a nurtured, home-grown talent. The Swedish-born film buff was making horror shorts in his apartment using his iPhone when one of them caught the eye of the studio, which then adapted it into the 2016 surprise hit Lights Out, which he directed.