By Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter
David F. Sandberg, the filmmaker behind upcoming Annabelle: Creation, is directing the feature project that hails from Warner Bros.’s sister division, New Line. The project is looking to go before cameras in January or February 2018 with a likely release in 2019, according to sources.
Peter Safran, who worked with Sandberg on the Annabelle sequel and is also producing Aquaman, is in negotiations to board Shazam! as producer.
It is unclear whether Dwayne Johnson, who has long been attached to play Shazam! villain Black Adam, will be involved with Shazam! but he is attached as star and producer of the Black Adam spinoff that is being developed concurrently to Shazam!
Warner is feeing revived in its DC films with the stunning success of Wonder Woman and earlier this week slotted two DC movies in the release calendar for 2020. It has several movies teeing up on the runway but at this stage, Shazam! will take off first. Flash was delayed due to it lacking a director while a sequel to Wonder Woman is only in the early treatment writing stage. Joss Whedon is overseeing post-production and re-shoots on Justice League and won’t be ready to tackle a Batgirl film until after that movie is out the door. A sequel to Suicide Squad, which is closing in on a director, is eyeing a mid-2018 start.
New Line is high on Sandberg, whom it proudly sees as a homegrown talent. The Swede 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. That led to the company putting him on the Annabelle sequel, which screened to a standing room only crowd in San Diego as part of the fan-tastic festivities at Comic-Con. New Line has also been holding sold out preview screenings around the country
To go from iPhone filmmaker to a full-blown DC movie director in a scant three or four years is itself a Shazam!-like transformation.
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