Warner Bros. has appointed IT and The Conjuring producer Walter Hamada to be their new president of production of DC movies, replacing Jon Berg and Geoff Johns. The studio decided to make the change back in December, in the aftermath of Justice League's underwhelming box office performance. Johns is still DC's president and chief creative officer, and will remain involved with the cinematic franchise as an advisor to Hamada.
It's no secret that the DC Extended Universe has had an uphill climb in these first few years of its existence. With the exception of last summer's Wonder Woman (which received widespread acclaim), its offerings have proven to be quite divisive. Things reached a tipping point back in November when Justice League premiered to decidedly mixed reviews and the worst opening weekend of the five DCEU films to date. The ensemble piece failed to find any traction commercially, petering out at $226.1 million domestically and $651.1 million worldwide - far less than anyone expected. As WB looks to pick up the pieces, they're making a major alteration behind-the-scenes.
In a report from Variety, it's said Hamada will oversee all of WB's comic book movies (not just those based on DC properties). The outlet cites "widespread frustration" at WB due to the new DC movies not rivaling the Marvel Cinematic Universe in terms of reception and box office figures. This move reads as an attempt for the studio to salvage their would-be flagship tentpole before matters get worse. A trio of DC films - Aquaman, Shazam, and Wonder Woman 2 - are on the schedule, and several others are in various stages of development.
Hamada had tremendous success during his time at WB division New Line. IT was a bona fide phenomenon when it was released in September 2017, breaking box office records en route to becoming the highest-grossing horror movie of all-time. The Conjuring was also a hit for the studio, earning $137.4 million domestically before spawning a full franchise complete with sequels and spinoffs. Because of his connection to The Conjuring, Hamada has a history with Aquaman helmsman James Wan, which might come into play with this new position. This December's Arthur Curry solo film was completed prior to the shift, but if Aquaman proves successful enough to warrant any followups, Hamada will be calling the shots.
Ideally, Hamada will be to WB's comic book movies what Kevin Feige is to the MCU and Kathleen Kennedy is to Lucasfilm. If his track record is any indication, he knows what makes a quality movie, so hopefully he'll be able to work his magic in the superhero realm. The DCEU is in desperate need of a string of surefire hits, and if Hamada doesn't have better luck than his predecessors, then WB will truly be in a tight spot.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Wonder Woman 2 (2019) release date: Nov 01, 2019
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019