As the shakeups at DC Films continue, Warner Bros. Pictures has tapped It producer Walter Hamada to run the division as its president, according to Variety. The move comes after word that the previous leadership — Jon Berg and Geoff Johns — were moving to other parts of the studio following the poor showing of Justice League.
Johns, for his part, will remain a co-president and chief creative officer at DC Entertainment; where he will continue to have influence over the company’s television and comic book interests. He will also “work closely” with Hamada in an advisory capacity at DC Films. Berg will be the production partner of It and The LEGO Movie‘s Roy Lee.
Hamada is a veteran of New Line Cinema’s horror output, including The Conjuring and Annabelle series. It is expected that his talents on those projects will aid DC Films in creating quality oversight as it moves forward with in-continuity projects like the Wonder Woman sequel and Elseworlds-style concepts like the reported Joker Origins project.
Of course, building trust (and indeed, an actual brand image) will not be an easy task. Despite the success of Wonder Woman, the current DC cycle of films — colloquially known as “The DC Extended Universe” due to the studio’s failure to name the series itself — are divisive among fans and poorly regarded within the industry. Since its inception with 2013’s Man of Steel, the brand has chased the critical and financial successes of Marvel Studios. At the time there was no DC Films or central leadership; a major difference from Marvel Studio CEO Kevin Feige’s central role in mapping the cross-town rival’s slate of films. Once DC Films was formed, Marvel had almost a dozen films to its name compared to DC’s single entry.
Not that this is entirely DC’s fault. Prior to the box office success of the first Avengers, various DC Comics characters were scattered across the Warner Bros. spectrum of companies and producers; making a single cinematic universe logistically impossible. Just getting these entities to relinquish their control back to the DC Entertainment took a number of years. Nonetheless, getting a united film series off the ground has proved difficult with an initially announced sequel for Justice League and a solo outing for Cyborg (Ray Fisher) disappearing entirely. Its slate also continues to shift as films once scheduled for release in the next 18 months fail to secure directors.
Which might be the ideal challenge to an ambitious executive. Making this thing work despite repeated creative missteps would definitely be a coup. And on the ground, fans of the DC characters would love to see the machine running as smoothly as Marvel with a solid and constant schedule of films.
All that remains to be seen, of course, is if Hamada can get all his parallel Earths in alignment to do it.