Over at his blog, screenwriter John August gives a breakdown as to what happened to his Shazam! movie and how the execs at Warner Bros. cancelled the movie.

When we turned the new draft in to the studio, we got a reaction that made me wonder if anyone at Warners had actually read previous drafts or the associated notes. The studio felt the movie played too young. They wanted edgier. They wanted Billy to be older. They wanted Black Adam to appear much earlier.

His first draft, turned in before the writer’s strike, was more of a comedy than the darker, edgier feel Warner Bros. is now targeting for its superhero movies.

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 spent 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.

August did go back and do a third rewrite, but the studios killed the project completely.  August reports that he probably won’t be back to write the movie again should the feature be resurrected for production.

Read the entire story over at John’s blog, it is quite fascinating, and gives yet another peak into the workings of H’wood.

via John August

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. Dr. Bolty
    January 6, 2009 at 10:34 am — Reply

    Ouch, that sucks. Captain Marvel really works when played young, so it’s a shame that he can’t find a niche in the current environment.

  2. JMF
    January 6, 2009 at 11:02 am — Reply

    Every rumour i’ve heard about this film has made me roll my eyes. Hearing that it canned however has made me shed a lil tear. Mainly because the idea of a Shazam film made me happy, if only that there would have been Black Adam who is one of my favourite villians.

  3. Graciela
    January 6, 2009 at 11:48 am — Reply

    While I praise the WB for making comic based movies that are edgy and not campy, edginess can’t be sprinkled on all characters in one swoop. It makes sense for a Batman or a Watchmen universe but not all comics are written with such broodiness. It’s too bad because sometimes a funny and well written comic movie can be what the doctor ordered. Not in this comic movie climate, I guess.

  4. Lifeisaglitch
    January 6, 2009 at 12:19 pm — Reply


    Too true.

  5. January 6, 2009 at 12:19 pm — Reply

    How’s this a surprise? There are plenty of DCU characters that I want to see on film before Shazam! I think WB is looking at accessibility in their properties, and Billy Batson just doesn’t appear to be just that. But again, I’m pretty much a DCU hater …

  6. nu
    January 6, 2009 at 7:27 pm — Reply

    nooooooooo. now i’ll never see the rock as black adam

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