As part of a shake-up of its DC film operations, Warner Bros. is promoting Walter Hamada to oversee its comic book movies, Variety has learned. He will serve as president of DC-based film production. In December, the studio decided to replace Jon Berg and Geoff Johns as the heads of the DC movies. Berg became a production partner with Roy Lee, the producer of “The Lego Movie” and “It,” who has a deal on the lot.
Johns remains at DC as a president and chief creative officer, but his portfolio doesn’t just involve film. He will continue to provide creative guidance into the company’s television and comic book efforts. In an official announcement of Hamada’s hire, Warner Bros. said Johns will “work closely” with the new production president.
The move comes as DC is looking for more quality control of its big-screen efforts — the studio captured acclaim and box office bonanza with last summer’s “Wonder Woman,” but was savaged by critics for “Suicide Squad” and “Justice League.” There is widespread frustration over DC’s failure to match the popularity of Marvel movies.
Hamada previously served for a decade as a production executive at New Line, a division of Warner Bros. There, he helped shepherd such horror hits as “It,” “The Gallows,” and “The Conjuring” to cinemas. The executive enjoys a close relationship with director James Wan, who is directing “Aquaman” for DC, and is credited with helping expand “The Conjuring” universe by making a well-received sequel to the movie, as well as spinoffs with the “Annabelle” series. He will be leaving New Line to work for Warners, and will also oversee any other types of comic book movies that the studio produces outside of the DC canon.
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Toby Emmerich, who was promoted in 2016 to president and chief content officer at Warner Bros., worked with Hamada at New Line, which he ran before moving over to the main studio.
“Walter is creative, resourceful, and committed to excellence, and will bring those qualities to his oversight of our superhero films,” Emmerich said in a statement.
Emmerich went on to add, “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.”
Last summer, Warner Bros. named Courtenay Valenti, best known for her work on the Harry Potter films, as president of production at Warner Bros. She will continue in that role, as will DC Entertainment chief Diane Nelson.
Before coming to New Line in 2007, Hamada spent four years as a partner in the management and production firm H2F Entertainment. He began his career as an assistant at TriStar and eventually became VP of production for Columbia Pictures. He also ran development for MBST Entertainment.