Filmmaker David F. Sandberg, who has spent the past several years in the land of superheroes, is returning to his horror roots.
The Shazam! helmer has signed a deal to direct Until Dawn, an adaptation of the PlayStation horror video game being made by Screen Gems and PlayStation Productions. All three units fall under the Sony corporate umbrella.
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Gary Dauberman, the screenwriter behind hit horror franchises It, Annabelle and The Nun, is doing a pass on the a script originally written by Blair Butler, who previously wrote Sony’s vampire thriller, The Invitation.
Dauberman, who late last year signed a first-look deal with Screen Gems and Sony to deliver horror movies, is producing Until Dawn under his Coin Operated banner. Also producing are Sandberg and Lotta Losten via their Mangata shingle, as well as Roy Lee of Vertigo Entertainment, and PlayStation Productions’ Asad Qizilbash and Carter Swan.
First released in 2015, Until Dawn is an interactive horror video game that follows eight friends and frenemies who are brought together at a remote mountain retreat. With live-or-die scenarios featuring a mysterious killer, cannibalistic wendigos, a cable car and a long-ago mining cave-in that reverberates into the present day, the members of the group must fight through their fear if they all hope to make it through the night in one piece. The game proved to be a surprise hit with critics and received numerous gaming awards nominations.
The logline for the feature adaptation is kept deep inside the caves, but Screen Gems is describing it as an R-rated love letter to the horror genre, centering on an ensemble cast.
Overseeing for Screen Gems are newly appointed head Ashley Brucks, as well as Michael Bitar. Screen Gems’ Dan Primozic closed the rights and shepherded the dealmaking for this package.
PlayStation Productions has ramped up its slate in recent years, and last year saw The Last of Us, Gran Turismo and Twisted Metal move from the console world to the big and small screen.
Dauberman has an adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot, which he wrote and directed for Warner Bros., in the can. He is also developing a live-action take on 1980s animated series Gargoyles for Disney+.
Sandberg made horror shorts in his native Sweden before one of the films, Closet Space, caught Hollywood’s attention. He made his feature debut with New Line’s Lights Out, a low-budget hit, and then was tasked with taking on Annabelle: Creation, an entry in the Conjuring horror universe written by Dauberman that scared critics and audiences alike to the tune of $305 million worldwide on a $15 million budget. He brought some of the scary movie sensibilities to his first DC movie, 2019’s Shazam!, the well-regarded coming-of-age superhero movie starring Zachary Levi. He most recently directed Shazam! Fury of the Gods, which ended up being part of 2023’s superhero contraction.
Sandberg is repped by CAA, The Gotham Group and Jackoway Austen. Butler is repped by CAA, Industry Entertainment and Lichter Grossman. Dauberman is repped by CAA, Industry and Felker Toczek.
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