Courtesy of Walter Hamada
Under the agreement, which begins on Jan. 1, 2023, Hamada will spearhead the studio’s mainstream horror movies, with the goal of releasing several low-to mid-budget films per year across theatrical and streaming. The studio recently scored at the box office with “Smile,” a low-budget thriller that’s generated a killer $209 million to date.
“With his track record for groundbreaking success, Walter is the ideal partner and visionary to build out our mainstream horror genre franchise business,” said Paramount Pictures President and CEO Brian Robbins. “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,” said 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.”
The deal comes about a month after he left Warner Bros., where he oversaw DC and its superhero blockbusters like “Joker,” “Aquaman” and “Wonder Woman.” There were also some notable commercial misfires like “The Suicide Squad” and “Wonder Woman 1984.” During his four-year tenure, he also worked on “The Batman,” as well as upcoming installments like “Shazam: Fury of the Gods” and “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.”
The executive, who led the DC Films unit since 2018, departed the company after Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav made moves to overhaul the comic book division and fashion a rival to Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe. Most recently, Zaslav named director James Gunn and producer Peter Safran as the new heads of DC.
For Hamada, who previously worked at New Line Cinema as executive VP of production, taking the horror mantle at Paramount represents a return to his roots. At New Line, he launched the commercially successful “The Conjuring” universe and shepherded the adaptation of Stephen King’s iconic novel “It,” which became the highest grossing horror movie ever with $704 million globally.
Variety's Rebecca Rubin contributed to this post.