Another day, another bit of news from inside Warner Bros. as new Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav tears through the movie and television business like a bad case of gastroenteritis, ejecting waste from both ends, noisily and violently.
Zaslav has made no bones about the fact that he feels the leadership in the DCEU has been lacking, and this has allegedly pushed DC chief Walter Hamada to the verge of exiting the studio. However, it is not as straightforward as it may seem.
Hamada only assumed the position after Justice League became a high profile disaster and the entire DCEU production line wobbled badly. He was appointed in 2018 to clear up the mess. You could argue he has been largely successful.
He brought James Gunn across from Marvel for The Suicide Squad. That was creatively a vast improvement on the original and led to Peacemaker, also a successful show. He also greenlit Todd Phillips’ Joker which is the highest grossing R rated movie of all time and an Oscar winner. He also drove through the plans for Matt Reeves’ The Batman which defied delays, theater closures and a three-hour runtime to close in on $800 million at the box office.
Yet according to a report in The Hollywood Reporter, it is Batgirl that has pushed him close to the exit, and it would be his own decision at this stage.
The rumors state that Warner Bros. Pictures Group co-chairpersons and CEOs Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy want Hamada to stay in post for the new evolution of the DCEU. They are, however, only overseeing DC until Zaslav forms it into a division in its own right.
They apparently informed Hamada of the Batgirl cancellation directly after a recent Black Adam test screening. Hamada was angry at not being consulted at all in the decision and was also concerned the cast and crew.
Before he could inform them and manage the message, the New York Post broke the story and it went global, angering Hamada further.
The article states that Hamada has consulted with counsel and has now agreed to remain in his post at least until the October 21st release of Black Adam. The source quoted in the report says:
“He’s pausing. The decision has not been made to make this adversarial, yet.”
As somebody who spends real life in the corporate world, I can confirm this translates as:
“Tell me exactly how big the pay-off is going to be in order to go quietly and sign that NDA?”
President-level pay-offs usually run to several years salary, bonuses and some retention of stock options. His contract runs until 2023.