The effects of the shake-up at Warner Brothers last month after the disappointing critical reception and box office performance of Justice League are now starting to set in as Warner Brothers has now officially tapped New Line production EVP Walter Hamada to oversee the studio’s DC Films division. The appointment comes after the dismissal of John Berg who quietly bowed out last month to become Roy Lee’s partner in production at Warner Brothers’ Burbank lot while DC Comics CCO Geoff Johns is still on board but in a more advisory role and will be working closely with Hamada.
According to Variety , Hamada previously served as a production executive for New Line Cinema, a sub-division of Warner Brothers. During his decade there he oversaw the production of It, The Gallows, and The Conjuring and shepherded them to cinemas. The executive has a notably close relationship with Aquaman director James Wan and is credited for helping Wan expand The Conjuring universe by pushing for the film to have a sequel as well as numerous spin-offs such as Annabelle and the upcoming The Nun film. This means that he will be leaving New Line Cinema and will be named as president of DC-based film production and will also oversee any other form of comic book movie being produced under Warner Brother’s roof, including those outside of the existing DC canon and will see him working closely with Geoff Johns, who has had an instrumental role in the development of the DC Extended Universe films and the highly successful line of DC shows on The CW.
The move is coming as a result of DC and WB feeling that the big budget blockbuster franchise is in need of quality control. The studio recently captured acclaim during the summer with the box office juggernaut that was Wonder Woman but suffered scrutiny with prior films like Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. This has been the source of wide-ranging frustration with fans and critics alike who see the studio is failing to live up to the expectations that come with a widely popular IPs like the DC Universe and in an attempt to match the popularity and success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Toby Emmerich, who was promoted in 2016 to president and chief content officer at Warner Bros., also has a solid working relationship with Hamada during his time running New Line before assuming a position at the main studio. Emmerich made note of this in a statement about Hamada’s appointment.
“Walter is creative, resourceful, and committed to excellence, and will bring those qualities to his oversight of our superhero films,” said Emmerich in a statement. He continued on to also say that, “I’m confident Walter and Geoff, working with our filmmaking partners, will deliver films that will resonate with both broad global audiences as well as DC fanboys and fangirls.”
Outside of these changes nothing else has been changed behind the management of the DC-based content at Warner Brothers. Last summer, Courtenay Valenti, best known for her contributions to the widely successful Harry Potter franchise was appointed as president of production. She will continue her role, as will current DC Entertainment Chief Diane Nelson.
What this could mean for the DC Extended Universe is that Warner Brothers has potentially found a man with both the business sense and creative sense to manage a property that has been in desperate need of adequate management. He has proven himself capable of managing a franchise, seeing what works, and what doesn’t while still allowing directors to have individual control of their productions.
Hamada is the third person from the highly successful The Conjuring universe franchise to join in the production of the DC Extended Universe series of films. The others are Aquaman director James Wan and Shazam! director David F. Sandberg who directed The Conjuring and Annabelle Creation respectively.