Walter Hamada, who left Warner Bros.' New Line Cinema imprint in 2018 to come to DC Films, is likely to leave Warner Bros. Discovery altogether following the release of Black Adam. Hamada, who was reportedly "on the brink" of leaving the studio following last week's news that Batgirl has been shelved to avoid paying taxes, could be sticking around until the release of that movie -- widely expected to be a huge hit, due in no small part to the presence of superstar Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson -- so that he can get whatever bonuses he is due from helping to shepherd it to theaters.
In 2021, Hamada extended his deal as President of DC Films into 2023. At the time, it seemed like the beginning of a beautiful friendship, allowing him to be part of The Flash's apparent soft-reboot of the feature film line. That includes the introduction of DC's multiverse to the film canon, with the return of Michael Keaton's Batman and the appearances of alternate-Earth doppelgangers of the film's characters.
Hamada has been an a visible, and sometimes controversial presence since FanDome in 2020, where he announced that DC planned to mount an ambitious slate that split its releases between theatrical and straight-to-HBO Max fare. Most of that content has been cancelled since Discovery acquired Warner Bros., with CEO David Zaslav being openly dismissive of HBO Max's potential.
The multiverse approach spoke to Hamada's sensibilities -- the exec had previously said that under his watch, DC would greenlight promising projects even if it meant having more than one version of characters, because the multiverse allowed it. This philosophy allowed Joker, The Batman, and Superman & Lois to launch in spite of those characters already existing in DC's main film canon. It also was a shift from a company strategy that used to routinely pull characters out of the Arrowverse when they were wanted for the movies.
"What the multiverse allows you to do is lean into this idea of, you can tell just great stories and you don't have to be really as focused on, it has to fit in the same continuity," Hamada explained during FanDome. "On one Earth we have this Gal and Jason and Ezra version of the JL and we can continue telling those stories, while on a separate Earth, we can have a more grounded, real, Year Two Batman, and build out that world and not really worry about continuity, story elements, and et cetera. It's really the best of both worlds."
Joker became a standout of the multiverse strategy, earning more than $1 billion in spite of its R-rating and lack of any big superhero CGI slugfest. The filmmakers behind Joker have claimed that Hamada did not see the potential in the pitch when they presented it, but the movie went forward nevertheless and now has a sequel planned for 2024.
One of Hamada's main detractors during his time at DC Films has been Ray Fisher. The Justice League actor was the first to call attention to Joss Whedon's toxic on-set behavior during the film's production, and has consistently made the argument that Warner Bros. execs including Hamada, Jon Berg, and Geoff Johns did not take his complaints seriously enough or act fast enough to protect the cast.