DC's long-awaited Shazam! movie zeroes in on director

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Jul 24, 2018, 11:19 AM EDT (Updated)

No one's been cast in the title role yet, but the Shazam! movie is coming right along: We've known for more than two years that Dwayne Johnson will play Black Adam, we've been promised a more optimistic DC Comics flick and we're looking at a Spring 2019 release. Now, the rest of the principal elements just have to take their places, and it looks like Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema may have finally locked down a big one.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studios are "in talks" with director David F. Sandberg to come aboard the project. Sandberg was best known for his short films until last year, when he released the low-budget horror flick Lights Out. Co-produced by New Line and distributed by Warner Bros., Lights Out earned critical acclaim and picked up nearly $150 million worldwide on a budget of less than $5 million. That success got Sandberg a gig directing Annabelle 2, and now it seems he may have also parlayed his success into an even bigger gig.

Shazam! tells the story of Billy Batson, a boy (in the rebooted New 52 continuity he's a teenager) who is granted the power to transform into a superhero by a wizard. The character's gone through numerous changes over the years (he's no longer named Captain Marvel, for obvious reasons), but he was once the most powerful superhero on the planet, and the template is still a popular one for writers hoping to tell bright, fun stories for all ages, though not necessarily in DC's main continuity.

Sandberg is an interesting choice for the film, given his background in horror and his lack of blockbuster experience. Directors of smaller flicks have had success on this stage before, though, and he's definitely shown an ability to creatively use effects without overdoing it. We don't yet know if he and already-hired screenwriter Henry Gayden (Earth to Echo) will be the final Shazam!creative team, but it's a start.

What do you think? Is Sandberg the man for the job?