While Warner Bros. has had trouble keeping directors on its DC projects in the past (see: Seth Grahame-Smith and Rick Famuyiwa on The Flash, Ben Affleck on The Batman, and Michelle MacLaren on Wonder Woman), it appears as though they’re zeroing in on a filmmaker for the planned Shazam movie. Per The Wrap, Lights Out director David F. Sandberg is in talks to take the helm of Shazam, based on the DC Comics character of the same name. The title character gets his powers via a transformation from his human form—Billy Batson—into a superpowered entity who can wield enormous strength, speed, and mental abilities. Dwayne Johnson has been attached to star in Shazam for years now as the character’s villainous adversary Black Adam, so with a director in line it appears the project is finally coming together.
Sandberg is a Swedish filmmaker who recently came to prominence by adapting his short film Lights Out into a feature for New Line Cinema. The horror pic scared up $148.8 million at the box office against a budget of just $4.9 million, and New Line quickly set Sandberg to helm its horror sequel Annabelle 2, which is currently in post-production. Aquaman director James Wan produced both of those films, so one imagines he put in a good word for Sandberg with the studio when it came to filling out the DCEU roster.
Shazam is a unique DCEU film in that it’s not directly part of Warner Bros.’ slate and is instead being developed by WB’s New Line Cinema arm. Whether that means Shazam might be a more modestly budgeted superhero pic is unknown, but it’s certainly interesting. We recently learned that the studio made the decision to split Shazam into two movies, one titled Shazam and another titled Black Adam, focusing on Johnson’s villain. Johnson is expected to be part of both films, but with Sandberg now in line to direct, the hunt is no doubt on to fill the title role.
Shazam doesn’t currently have an official release date, but was being eyed for a debut in 2019. We’ll surely learn more about the project soon.