Comics on Film: Meet DC Films' New Boss

Comics on Film: Meet DC Films' New Boss

Jan 05, 2018

Here at Comics on Film, the odyssey of Warner Bros. Pictures attempting to orient their DC Comics-based movies for success akin to the kind enjoyed by Disney and Marvel Studios has been a relatively regular topic. That's because the journey WB seems to be taking is definitely haphazard, full of trial and error (perhaps with a little too much error), and frankly, it's pretty fascinating.

Recently, we told you about the apparent new ire at WB over the box office stumble of Justice League, first developed by Zack Snyder and finished by Joss Whedon, and how they were unfairly punishing DC Comics legend Geoff Johns and fellow producer Jeff Berg for the studio's own failings in both A) sticking to the November 17th release date, and B) doubling down on Zack Snyder even after the immense critical backlash to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
 
What probably happened is that WB saw the $873.6 million global box office receipts for BvS and didn't think the critical reaction mattered all that much, without having a great deal of foresight in thinking that a sequel could be punished from a simple basis of perception. They probably didn't apply much urgency to it especially after Suicide Squad basically played out similarly. Why fix a problem if a problem is making money?
 
Still, that's all in the past. This week at Variety, we caught our first glimpse of the future: a new boss to oversee the cinematic adaptations of DC Comics going forward.
 
 
Walter Hamada: The New Boss at DC Films
 
 
Credit is given where credit is due, and to WB's credit, Hamada's resume and previous successes at the studio make his new position for a marquee franchise a bit obvious, when approaching things strictly from the perspective of the movie business. With 18 producer credits to his name, Hamada's involvement in genre film has mostly been with horror during his time as an executive at WB subsidiary New Line Cinema: he helped produce the 2009 and 2010 remakes of Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street, respectively, before dipping into a sequel in the Final Destination series and ultimately hitting pay-dirt with director James Wan's The Conjuring.
 
He's been intimately involved in expanding the Conjuring universe, but was also attached to WB and New Line's highly popular critical hit in the form of It, the adaptation of Stephen King's novel of the same name that hit theaters last fall. Hamada will leave behind his position at New Line to work at Warner Bros. proper, working as president of DC-based film production.
 
Seeing the generally wide canvas and heavy level of interest that horror films always seem to exhibit, from the cream-of-the-crop to the bottom-of-the-barrel, seeing a similar business approach while applying it to the highly popular superhero film genre is likely an inspired choice. Horror never seems to go out of style, and hopefully Hamada's recent successes will portend good things for future DC cinematic efforts. Indeed, the only DC Comics-based film of 2018, Aquaman, is being directed by Conjuring creator James Wan.
 
 
What About the Comic Book Side of the Equation?
 
 
While Hamada's hire is understandable from the perspective of the movie business, the DC Films efforts are unique in the sense that they spin out of a constantly-in-publication well of source material with history extending back over 75 years. That, to comic book fans, is what was so encouraging about keeping acclaimed DC Comics comic book writer and executive Geoff Johns attached to the films. Thankfully, it sounds like he still will be.
 
According to the Variety report, regarding Johns' future involvement it says, "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."
 
This is encouraging. As we've said before, Geoff Johns has been at the forefront of some of DC Comics' best stories in multiple mediums over the last 15 years, writing a significant amount of now-classic stories himself, to say nothing of events and stories in comics, video games, animation and television that he's helped shape into legitimately solid representations of DC's biggest icons. Indeed, Johns tweeted to Walter Hamada in a playfully hopeful way regarding their new partnership:

Aquaman will arrive in theaters this December, with a number of DC films based off of Wonder Woman, Batman, the Suicide Squad, Nightwing, Batgirl and more still reportedly on the horizon. After Justice League, it's good to see that WB isn't simply abandoning DC, which would probably be very easy for them to do. We'll be watching the development of DC on film with great interest throughout 2018, so we hope you join us in the future at Movies.com and here in Comics on Film.


Chris Clow is a comic book expert and former retailer, and a writer with work having appeared in the Huffington Post, Fandango and others. He also hosts the podcasts Discovery Debrief: A Star Trek Podcast and Comics on Consoles. You can find his weekly Comics on Film column every week here at Movies.com, and you can follow along on Twitter @ChrisClow.

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