Paramount has wisely scooped up former DC Films boss Walter Hamada, who has signed an exclusive, multi-year production deal with the studio.
Hamada’s deal starts at the top of the year, and it calls for the veteran New Line executive to develop and produce a series of low-to-mid-budget horror movies that will be made both for theaters and streaming.
It’s a good fit for Hamada, who may have spent the past few years quarterbacking the DCU, but actually oversaw the hit Conjuring franchise for New Line before he took over DC. That franchise is the highest-grossing horror franchise ever, as it also includes the Annabelle movies as well as The Nun. Hamada was also the exec on New Line’s adaptation of Stephen King‘s It, which went on to become the highest-grossing horror film in history, having taken in more than $700 million worldwide.
“With his track record for groundbreaking success, Walter is the ideal partner and visionary to build out our mainstream horror genre franchise business,” Paramount Pictures President and CEO Brian Robbins said in a statement. “As evidenced by the fantastic performance of Smile, there is a tremendous appetite for original, high-concept storytelling in the global marketplace, and we look forward to a long and successful partnership.”
“I am thrilled to collaborate with Paramount Pictures with the singular goal of creating exceptional movies in the horror genre,” added Hamada. “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. Thank you to Brian and the entire team at Paramount Pictures for this tremendous opportunity, I can’t wait to get started.”
Hamada is a well-respected industry veteran, and while I’m a little surprised to see him limiting himself to genre films, I also understand how lucrative they can be, and why Paramount would make them a priority after the success of both Scream and Smile — not to mention Barbarian and The Black Phone, which were produced by other studios.
During his time at DC, Hamada steered both Aquaman and Joker past the billion-dollar mark at the global box office and oversaw The Batman starring Robert Pattinson. When The Flash inevitably grosses a billion dollars next summer, Hamada will deserve the credit for that one as well. By all accounts, Hamada has good taste, strong relationships, and he’s known as one of the nicest guys in Hollywood, so his partnership with Paramount is surely a coup for the studio.