Walter Hamada has been announced as the new President of DC Films, and the red-hot producer might just been the ideal choice to get the ailing DCEU back on track. It seemed as if there was hope the embattled shared universe had put its troubles behind it after the triumphant Wonder Woman, but that victory was short-lived, with Justice League crashing and burning at the box office a few months later. That team-up was the culmination of a string of creative misfires and bad management choices made by Warner Bros.' top brass that arguably has its roots in the DCEU's inaugural film, Man of Steel. Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were perceived as too dark, particularly in their treatment of Superman. Then, the venomous reaction to Batman v Superman prompted a panicked Warner Bros. to order extensive reshoots to Suicide Squad, resulting in a notoriously fractured film.
Despite all those behind the scenes issues, all of those films were financially successful. That box office luck ran out at the most embarrassing possible time, however, as Justice League - what should have been DC's answer to Marvel's powerhouse Avengers films - became a massive box office disappointment. That movie's production woes have become part of its mythology: director Zack Snyder departed production after the death of his daughter, replaced by Avengers director Joss Whedon. Even before Snyder's family tragedy, Warner Bros. was reportedly deeply unhappy with the direction in which he was taking the film. Regardless, Whedon was given an impossible task, as instead of finishing Snyder's vision, the studio wanted him to radically alter the film to make it in more palatable for wide audiences, and yet didn't see fit to delay the movie from its established November 2017 release date, for dubious reasons, at best.
The resulting fallout from Justice League's failure was the clearest sign yet that DC Films was in dire need of a manager, someone with a track record of both creative success and quality control. Fortunately, Hamada is the man for that job.
Why Hamada Is The Right Person To Lead DC Films
Why Walter Hamada Is The Right Person To Lead DC Films
Having worked extensively as a producer on horror films for New Line, Hamada has been a key player in highly successful franchises like The Conjuring, Final Destination, and Annabelle. Notably, he has pre-existing relationships with some of DC's key creatives: James Wan directed the Conjuring films and is helming next year's Aquaman; Hamada was also a producer on Lights Out, directed by Shazam! helmer David F. Sandberg. Most buoyantly, he also served as producer on Warner Bros.' surprise smash IT which, along with Wonder Woman, was the studio's most emphatic success of 2017. Virtually all of those films have been expanded with sequels and prequels, proving Hamada can handle the logistics and costs of franchise filmmaking.
Perhaps most importantly, every one of those films had a relatively modest budget, so when success eventually came they ended up being even bigger financial winners for the studio than usual. The cost of big budget blockbuster films has gotten out of hand in general, but the DCEU is maybe the worst modern offender. The budget for Justice League reportedly hit $300 million, ten times of IT, a movie that in the end made more at the box office. But the costs of all of the prior central films still ballooned well past $200 million, presumably in service of their third act CGI showdowns that are often the most derided aspects of those films, lurching away from the thrills of Nolan's Batman films and dangerously towards the brain-numbing excesses of Michael Bay's Transformers films. Ironically, Wonder Woman boasted the smallest budget of the DCEU so far at $150 million, and ended up not only the most visually coherent film in the series, but also the most critically acclaimed.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019