Former DC Films Boss Walter Hamada Moves To Paramount – Here's What This Means

Here's a big piece of news that is both expected and unexpected. Walter Hamada, the former head of DC Films that reportedly left due to conflicts with Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, has signed a multi-year production pact with Paramount Pictures that begins next year. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he will oversee the studio's mid-budget horror slate for both theaters and Paramount+.

"I am thrilled to collaborate with Paramount Pictures with the singular goal of creating exceptional movies in the horror genre," the producer said in a statement. "Over the course of my career, nothing has been more gratifying than discovering emerging, first-time filmmakers and writers and unleashing their brilliance in a studio setting."

Paramount president and CEO Brian Robbins also released a statement on this new hire, calling Hamada "the ideal partner and visionary" for their company.

"As evidenced by the fantastic performance of 'Smile,' there is a tremendous appetite for original, high-concept storytelling in the global marketplace," Robbins wrote, "and we look forward to a long and successful partnership."

The inclusion of "Smile," Parker Finn's directorial debut about a mysterious smiling demon, is an important takeaway here. While we here at /Film were a bit mixed on it, there's no denying that the film did extremely well at the box office — it is currently the highest-grossing horror movie of the year, with Box Office Mojo currently estimating a worldwide gross of $209 million against a budget of $17 million.

Why this hire matters (and could spell trouble for Warner Bros.)

Sure, "Smile" may have been a success, but what does that have to do with the hiring of Hamada? It's because it appears that Paramount will be pursuing the small-to-mid-budget horror space further, encouraged by the unexpected success of its horror films this year. It's important to remember that the studio not only had "Smile" in theaters, but "Orphan: First Kill" on Paramount+ as well.

As for how Hamada fits into this puzzle, we need to look at his record before becoming the president of DC Films. As an executive producer at Warner Bros. offshoot New Line Cinema, he produced several major horror films, including 2009's "Friday the 13th" and 2011's "Final Destination 5." However, perhaps his biggest break came when he produced 2013's "The Conjuring," kicking off a billion-dollar franchise that is still releasing entries and spin-offs to this day. He also served as executive producer on 2017's "IT," which still stands as the highest-grossing horror movie of all time.

While his time at DC Films was filled with controversy that is still important to discuss, it's also important to understand that Hamada built the horror franchises that Warner Bros. still utilizes today. It is clear that he has a keen eye for these types of stories, and the horror slate at New Line has arguably decreased in quality since he left. With him now at Paramount, we could see one prestigious studio take over another's mainstream horror crown. However, we won't know for sure until Hamada officially starts in 2023.