PART 2 - DC Shakeup: How Walter Hamada Could Change The Scale And Tone Of The DC Films Universe

PART 2 - DC Shakeup: How Walter Hamada Could Change The Scale And Tone Of The DC Films Universe

New DC Films president Walter Hamada could change the direction of the DC Extended Universe in a number of ways, but how will his plans align with Geoff Johns' vision for the franchise? More past the jump.

Yesterday, I looked at how new DC Films president Walter Hamada could change the lineup of movies the studio is currently planning on releasing and speculated that he might take away some of the focus from the side characters to concentrate on the core heroes of the Justice League. However, there is reason to believe he might do the opposite in response to the lackluster critical and financial performance of Justice League


PART 1 - DC Shakeup: How Walter Hamada Could Change The DCEU’s Slate of Upcoming Films
 

Some critics and fans thought the film felt like an imitation of the Marvel formula, partly because the guy who finished directing the movie, Joss Whedon, helped create the Marvel formula. Even still, DC Films might decide to focus more on characters like Harley Quinn than on their biggest traditional heroes.

If DC shifts towards smaller characters and villains, they might be able to significantly cut their production budgets. Based on Hamada’s producing career, this is definitely in his wheelhouse. As Mark pointed out, the horror movies that Hamada has made a name with have been produced on comparatively small budgets. 


Both It and The Conjuring were made for less than $40 million each, and went on to become box office sensations that spawned franchises. Using this principle, a street-level, smaller scale Batman movie set in the DCEU is a legitimate possibility. The studio wouldn’t have to break the bank to make this a reality, in the financial returns could be huge.

Whilee Hamada is usually involved with smaller budget movies, this doesn’t necessarily mean Warner Bros. will scale down their biggest superhero franchises. However, Hamada's history of producing quality movies that don’t go over budget was likely a factor in his hiring. This has been a problem with DC Films, as reshoots and marketing costs dramatically increased the budgets of both Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League. Even Wonder Woman’s $149 million production budget is comparatively small and still made big money at the box office.

When new Warner Bros. chairman Toby Emmerich was brought in as president last year, it was widely reported that his mandate was to keep film budgets as small as possible. While the assumption was that tentpole films like those in the Lego, Harry Potter, and DC franchises would still be given plenty of financial freedom, if Emmerich were to see a plan for a smaller budget DC movie with wide appeal, he’d likely give it a shot.



It probably isn’t a coincidence that two of the directors responsible for some of Hamada’s biggest successes are already involved with the DCEU. James Wan worked with Hamada when the Aquaman director filmed both movies in The Conjuring series, and the two also produced both Annabelle films. This familiarity might indicate that Wan will continue working with DC Films if Aquaman succeeds.

Shazam director David F. Sandberg, another successful horror filmmaker, also worked with Hamada on Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation. These connections make the Hamada hire look even more logical; and given the reasonable budgets of his films, Sandberg looks like a good fit if the DCEU shifts towards smaller-scale movies.

While hiring an experienced producer who has helped bring several commercially and critically successful films to theatres looks like a smart move, there has been a lot of scrutiny put on what this shakeup means for the existing DC Films head office.
Despite initial reports that claimed Warner Bros. was cleaning house, a statement from Emmerich following the Hamada announcement stated that DC Comics president Geoff Johns will remain involved with the film studio. Johns even tweeted that he had been working with Hamada on Shazam.

 

As chief creative officer of DC Entertainment, Johns’ job goes far beyond the film division of the company. Bringing in a film industry professional like Hamada may allow Johns to focus on other areas of the DC empire, including the comic book side.  
Because of Johns' background in comics, having him take on different responsibilities than Hamada makes a lot of sense. While Hamada will carry the title of president, Johns’ responsibilities appear to be more story-oriented.

It will be interesting to see how the two work together, as Hamada is now capable of changing the direction that Johns was partly responsible for planning. Johns has previously stressed that superheroes are all about hope and optimism, themes that are evident in Wonder Woman and Justice League, the DCEU films Johns has been most involved with. Whether or not Hamada is on board with this hero-focused approach will help define where DC Films goes from here.

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