Controversial DC Executive Is Now Running Paramount

Walter Hamada will lead Paramount's horror division starting in 2023

By Phillip Moyer | Published

Walter Hamada, the former DC Films boss who left Warner Bros. Discovery last month, now has a leading role at Paramount. According to MovieWeb, Hamada will lead Paramount’s upcoming line of horror movies, which will be released in theaters and on their streaming app

walter hamada
Walter Hamada (left)

Walter Hamada was reportedly furious after David Zaslav, the new Warner Bros. Discovery CEO, canceled Batgirl for a tax write-off. Reports at the time said that Hamada almost left immediately after hearing the news. Rumors later emerged that he would stick around until after the release of Black Adam. The rumors appear to have been true since Hamada left the same week that the film was released.

Hamada’s new role at Paramount comes soon after the studio released Smile, which cost the studio $17 million to make and made back $209 million. Paramount now plans to release multiple horror movies each year to capitalize on that success.

These films will all feature lower budgets than Hamada’s DC Blockbusters. This is in an apparent attempt to minimize risk and create a high return on investment, which Smile proved was possible.

Hamada is no stranger to horror, having produced multiple horror films at New Line Cinema. He is listed as an executive producer for The Conjuring, Annabelle, The Gallows, The Conjuring 2, Lights Out, It, and The Nun. 

Hamada joined DC after the studio suffered from years of floundering movies that never quite hit the mark DC. For each financial and critical success such as Aquaman and Wonder Woman, there have been critical failures and box office misses.

Before Hamada, the DCEU famously attempted to follow the example set by the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The films attempted to build up new characters, with the goal of creating an ensemble film that would be a major box office success. Unfortunately the resulting film, Justice League, largely disappointed fans.

Under Hamada, DC’s films tended to be more insular. 2019’s Joker, 2021’s The Suicide Squad and 2022’s The Batman did not attempt to share a connected universe, focusing instead on individual stories and their characters. While the result has led to more critical acclaim, the box office returns remained a mixed bag.

During his tenure at DC, Hamada attracted controversy. Ray Fisher, who played Cyborg in Justice Leagueaccused Hamada of using his executive power to protect his colleagues. According to Fisher, Hamada tried to sweep disgraced director Joss Whedon’s alleged abuses under the rug and had Fisher investigated after reporting allegedly racist behavior.

Following Walter Hamada’s exit, David Zaslav appointed director James Gunn and producer Peter Safran as the new heads of DC. Both new leaders have familiarity with the franchise, and with Hamada’s work. Safran worked with Hamada to produce AquamanShazam!, and The Suicide Squad, and also worked with him on multiple horror movies at New Line. James Gunn, who is most famous for his popular Guardians of the Galaxy movies at Marvel, directed the critically acclaimed The Suicide Squad, though that film’s box office returns fell short of projections.