A big-screen adaptation of Shazam! has long been in development over the years. And it appeared the project was picking up steam with the news that Peter Segal (the director behind Warner Brother's recent Summer hit Get Smart) had signed on to direct.
But according to the film's writer John August (Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and Big Fish), Shazam! is in fact dead.
Speaking on his blog, August gave a detailed "blow by blow" report detailing the problems he faced with issues ranging from the age of Billy Batson (the lead character) to keeping the film's villain Black Adam from being "too sympathetic."
But August ultimately reveals the real culprit behind its demise:
"In retrospect, I can point to two summer Warner Bros. movies that I believe defined the real issue at hand: Speed Racer and The Dark Knight. The first flopped; the second triumphed. Given only those two examples, one can understand why a studio might wish for their movies to be more like the latter. But to do so ignores the success of Iron Man, which spend most of its running time as a comedic origin story, and the even more pertinent example of WB's own Harry Potter series. I tried to make this case, to no avail."
I can't really say I'm surprised by any of this, to be honest.
If Shazam! was going to happen, it would have been immediately after Get Smart opened big at the box-office and wound up being a solid-sized money-maker for Warner Brothers.
That would have been the perfect opportunity for it to move forward - at least in my opinion.
Not to mention, this whole "Let's make everything dark" argument certainly gels with what Warner Brothers #2 big-cheese Jeff Robinov said back in August.
Of course, just because something works perfectly for Batman doesn't mean it'll automatically work for everything else.
Nonetheless, Shazam! is now just one more comic-book property we won't be getting from Warner Brothers.