Adaptation set for Christmas 2004, summer 2005 release

Two-time Oscar winner William Goldman has been hired to adapt DC Comics’ “Shazam!” for New Line Cinema.

“Shazam!” is the story of Billy Batson, who transforms into Captain Marvel, the world’s mightiest mortal, when he says the name of ancient wizard Shazam. A live-action version ran on CBS’ Saturday morning sked from 1974-78.

“I started collecting comics in 1938,” Goldman told Daily Variety. “I was a lunatic comicbook lover, and I had everything. (This project) is a big deal for me. I hope I don’t screw it up.”

New Line execs on the project are senior VP of production Christopher Godsick and production veep Mark Kaufman. Michael Uslan is the exec producer.

Calling “Shazam” “the ultimate kid wish-fulfillment movie,” New Line production prexy Toby Emmerich said Goldman was a perfect hire for the pic.

Slated for a Christmas 2004 or summer 2005 release, pic will be the first comicbook adaptation for Goldman, whose credits include “Marathon Man,” “The Princess Bride” and “Misery.” He won the Oscar for 1969’s “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and for 1976’s “All the President’s Men.”

“Dreamcatcher,” scripted by the WMA-repped Goldman, went into wide release Friday.

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