Last month, we told you about Warner Brothers head Alan Horn stating that Green Lantern would probably be the next superhero film from the studio. For those of you who may have been following the development of the several comic book adaptation projects that they were working on, the announcement may have caused some puzzlement as just a few months earlier the big buzz had been that Warners was close to starting filming on Shazam, with director Pete Segal, hot of his summer success with Get Smart.
Well, this is Hollywood, kids, and its wise to never count on a film being made until you see the trailer in the theater.
Shazam is dead, according to its screenwriter John August, who broke the news on his blog yesterday.
August lets loose with all gory details, but the turning point that killed the project was when it moved from New Line Studios up the Time-Warner corporate ladder to Warner Brothers Studios, where a new set of executives just didn’t understand the property. With visions of the box office receipts of The Dark Knight dancing in their eyes, the execs asked August to re-write the film to make it edgier and darker. Obviously, they did not have a clue about the light-hearted superhero property, which August describes as “Big, but with superpowers.” In the comic, young Billy Batson is given a magic word, “Shazam!” that turns him into the super strong Captain Marvel, while still retaining his youthful intellect.
It’s a shame. August’s enthusiasm for the project is obvious in all his blog entries on it, and it would have been fun to see Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the villainous Black Adam.
Now, Shazam is just another case study in what has gone wrong with Hollywood now that the major studios are all run by short-sighted, no imagination business school graduates instead of the showmen who built Hollywood and the film industry back in the early decades of the last century.