Walter Hamada Is Officially Done As President Of DC Films – Here's What This Means

It is the end of an era for DC Films, albeit a relatively short one, as now-former president Walter Hamada has officially left his post. Indeed, after taking up the position as head of the division of Warner Bros. in 2018 — a particularly tumultuous time in the wake of the release of "Justice League" — Hamada is out and is merely awaiting one final (presumably big) paycheck. In the meantime, things are about to get interesting for DC under current Warner Bros. Discovery CEO, David Zaslav.

It has been known for some time that Hamada was getting ready to exit as president of DC Films, with the news first coming to light after "Batgirl" was canceled. But in a new report from Deadline, it's confirmed that Hamada has already left, just ahead of the release of "Black Adam," and hasn't even been a part of recent meetings. His era is over and Zaslav must now find a replacement. That, however, is going to be easier said than done, which is why this situation is so crucial. As it stands, nobody is heading up DC to steer the ship creatively, and that is no small thing.

Walter Hamada is up for grabs

While Hamada hasn't said much of anything on the topic officially, this all seemed quite bitter. The executive's contract had extended through 2023 but, following the merger between Warner Bros. and Discovery earlier this year, things got dicey. Zaslav has made sweeping changes and has made clear his desire to find someone for DC Films akin to what Marvel Studios has with Kevin Feige. At one point, that looked to be Dan Lin, but that deal fell apart in the final hour, leaving Hamada without a replacement.

It is worth pointing out that Hamada's track record has been quite good. As head of DC, he saw the release of "Aquaman" (the highest-grossing DC movie ever), "Joker" (the highest-grossing R-rated movie ever), "The Batman," "The Suicide Squad," "Birds of Prey," and "Wonder Woman 1984," as well as "Black Adam." Granted, some of those movies underperformed a bit at the box office, but the pandemic had no small part in that. Aside from his work at DC, Hamanda has produced hits such as "It," "Lights Out," 2009's "Friday the 13th" remake, and a couple of the "Final Destination" movies.

The key thing here is that Hamada is absolutely done at WBD. But with a track record like that, he won't be unemployed a minute longer than he wishes to be. Maybe a big streaming service like Netflix signs him to a development deal. Maybe he starts another production company. Maybe he takes up a position as a head of a division for a rival studio. Regardless, Zaslav's loss is about to be someone else's treasure.

A big power vacuum

The bigger issue for Zaslav and Warner Bros. lies with DC Films and its immediate future. While Hamada was no Feige (he is said to not have a gift for courting big talent), he was steering the ship with success, bringing shows like "Peacemaker" to HBO Max. For now, Michael De Luca and Warner Bros Motion Pictures co-chief Pam Abdy are overseeing DC until a more permanent replacement is found. I say "more permanent" because few people are qualified for the job and, given how messy things are behind-the-scenes at DC right now, nobody seems to want it.

The DC universe is splintering in different directions, with the main DC universe still anchored to the so-called Snyderverse, as evidenced by reports of Henry Cavill returning for a potential "Man of Steel" sequel. Meanwhile, Matt Reeves is building out his "The Batman" universe, James Gunn is looking to make another DC movie, The Rock is focused on the "Black Adam" franchise and its expansion, while "Joker: Folie a Deux" is in full-swing, also existing in its own universe. With a power vacuum at the top of DC Films right now, there is nobody to make this less messy.

Big-name filmmakers can flex power to get what they want and anyone good at navigating the business probably knows that now is the time. So, while De Luca and Abdy are very good at their jobs, they have an entire studio to oversee — DC is just part of their equation. As such, things could get tricky in the coming months.

An uncertain direction for DC

One of the big reasons that Zaslav is looking for a Kevin Feige clone (something that absolutely does not exist) is because he is arguably the most successful producer in Hollywood history, for one. But beyond that, everything in the Marvel Cinematic Universe flows through him, helping to keep things cohesive and connected. Say what you will, but that formula works over, and over, and over again.

Even with Hamada guiding the ship, a steady hand, to be certain, things got messy. We've got multiple universes, multiple Bat-Men, films getting canceled, and movies still largely getting panned by critics. Again, look at the early reviews for "Black Adam." Our own Witney Seibold called it "a jumbled mess of a movie." Without someone at the top? Who knows what is going to happen.

DC is an asset any studio in Hollywood would kill to have. Warner Bros. Discovery is straight-up banking on being able to maximize the potential of that universe. That simply can't happen with no creative direction and nobody at the top of the food chain. It may surprise you to learn that I'm not the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, but I am a guy who writes a lot about the movie business and loves this stuff. If I were Zaslav, this would be my number one priority. There isn't another Feige out there, but find a steady hand with some creative vision.