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Warner Bros. has found a new hero to spearhead the slate of movies based on the DC Entertainment characters.
Walter Hamada, one of the executives behind the massively successful Conjuring horror movies made by Warner Bros.’ New Line division, has been named president of DC-based film production.
The ascension takes place after the December departure of Warner Bros.’ co-president of production Jon Berg, who was the studio’s point man for its DC movies. Berg is now a partner at Vertigo, the production shingle run by producer Roy Lee.
Hamada will focus on Warners‘ slate of upcoming films based on superheroes and villains, as well as titles based on other characters and stories also licensed from DC. He will work closely with Geoff Johns, the president and chief creative officer of DC Entertainment who worked side-by-side with Berg, while also drawing resources from both Warners and New Line.
Hamada is part of the duo known as “Team Genre” within the New Line corridors. With cohort Dave Neustadter, Hamada has overseen the company’s horror line, including the billion-dollar-grossing cinematic universe centered around the Conjuring movies. He and Neustadter also oversaw the horror phenomenon It, based on the Stephen King novel.
Hamada already has a close relationship with Toby Emmerich, Warners‘ president and chief content officer who previously headed New Line, and insiders say he impressed Emmerich with his overseeing of Shazam!, the lone DC cinematic universe movie with which the division finds itself involved. (The movie is due to begin production this winter.)
“Walter is creative, resourceful and committed to excellence and will bring those qualities to his oversight of our superhero films,” Emmerich said Thursday in a statement. “He’s a terrific production executive and served as an executive producer on two of the summer’s most popular films, New Line’s It and Annabelle: Creation. 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. Walter’s a great addition to the Warner Bros. Pictures team, and I look forward to working with him in his new post.”
Hamada’s move comes at a precipitous moment for the studio’s DC initiative. While Wonder Woman resonated with audiences and critics, becoming a cultural phenomenon while grossing $821.8 million worldwide, the movie that was to have been a hero-gathering zenith, Justice League, fizzled. The latter, while grossing $651 million globally, did not leave audiences wanting more.
Warners finds itself at a crossroads as to where it should spend its development energies next, as the coming year will only bring one DC movie to theaters: Aquaman, directed by Conjuring helmer James Wan and set to open Dec. 21.
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