WB neglected to sign up director Patty Jenkins for the Wonder Woman sequel

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…but don’t get too carried away crying sexism, THEY SAY it’s standard operating procedure at the still gun-shy about superheroes studio. THR reports that, contrary to what everyone has assumed, director Patty Jenkins was NOT signed for an option for a second Wonder Woman film (which is inevitable given the huge reaction to the first film.) Gal Gadot was signed up for a sequel however.

While star Gal Gadot has an option in place for Wonder Woman 2 as part of her overall deal to appear in several DC movies, Warner Bros. executives enlisted Jenkins for just one film, a decision that could end up costing the studio millions of dollars if Jenkins’ reps drive a hard bargain for her to return.

At the time she was hired, Jenkins had directed just one movie, her 2003 feature debut Monster, and she was taking over the long-gestating project from Michelle MacLaren, who left over creative differences. A one-picture-only deal is said to be standard practice at Warner Bros. for directors taking on a big-budget studio film for the first time.

Warners execs also may have been a bit unprepared for the level of success and acclaim Wonder Woman has achieved; initial tracking reports predicted Jenkins’ $150 million-budgeted film would open to about $65 million domestic, solid but hardly a reason to begin planning a long-range strategy. And the studio had been focusing on putting together Justice League Dark, a supernatural team-up project, and Batgirl, a Joss Whedon-helmed film (among other Bat-offerings), as the likely next movies to go into production in the DC Comics universe.

The piece suggest that not signing up a director for a second film is standard, as was done with Man of Steel. Except of course, director Zack Snyder has made two more DCCU films since then, BvS and Justice League.

The report notes that WB has also been swift to sign up sequels in advance, such as greenlighting a Hangover sequel before the first film even opened. But Wonder Woman came at them fast. And I’d say Jenkins is sitting with a full house at this point – ditching her from the sequel, as is traditionally done with female directors on big budget franchises like Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey (both of which lost their female directors after the first outing) – might be more difficult this time. In fact given the success of WW and its WWI setting (reportedly Jenkins’ idea) she could even be given a bigger say in the DCCU going forward:

Sources say the studio intends to begin negotiations with Jenkins shortly (although the exact timing is unclear), and the filmmaker and her reps at CAA, Anonymous Content and Jackoway Tyerman will enjoy enormous leverage. Jenkins could not only return to the director’s chair on Wonder Woman 2 but also could ink a more expansive deal that would allow her to work with DC Entertainment president and chief creative officer Geoff Johns on a script treatment for that movie and possibly others as well.

9 COMMENTS

  1. “but also could ink a more expansive deal that would allow her to work with DC Entertainment president and chief creative officer Geoff Johns on a script treatment for that movie and possibly others as well.”

    This warms my heart.

    And they better not take Jenkins off the sequel. She’s done two movies and both of them have been critically successful (and WW looks on track to make that “monetarily successful” as well). They’d be idiots to not throw big bags of money at her to keep her on board, and they’d be even more foolish to not bring her in on the wider DC film universe.

  2. Assuming we’re allowed to comment on this and it isn’t another “safe space,” Warner would be stupid not to give Jenkins more input on the DCCU. She actually made a DC movie that’s genuinely, make-no-excuses good. But Snyder demonstrates that no creator should be granted too much influence. As Marvel shows, there needs to be an editorial authority setting an overall tone and direction for creators to follow.

    Mike

  3. Patty Jenkins is more than a woman that Warner Bros should love, they should marry her to the DCEU! Patty Jenkins understands the delicate balance between delivering fanboy moments and avoiding nerd rage: her WONDER WOMAN leaves tender moments alone while staging jaw-dropping action sequences with assurance. By keeping Diana at the center of the action, she avoids crocodile tears and solipsism which has marred otherwise convincing DCEU blockbusters. The future of the DCEU has arrived and she is Patty Jenkins :D

  4. It wasn’t perfect (I thought the last act dropped the ball), but I’ll settle for great.

    I can understand why Warner was reluctant to lock an unproven director for the sequel, but…she’s now very much a proven director. They’d be crazy not to keep her. Whatever raise her agent asks for, she’s earned it.

  5. “It wasn’t perfect (I thought the last act dropped the ball), but I’ll settle for great.”

    The last act dropped the ball in the same way that almost every superhero movie tends to drop the ball though. Third acts tend to be a problem for superhero movies.

  6. Saw it a few days ago and liked it. The inevitable CGI battle at the end was unnecessary but relatively brief and coherent (unlike the CGI climax of B. V S.). I did get tired of the shots of people leaping in slow motion and freezing, as the camera spins around them — a schtick that was old by the time of the third Matrix movie in 2003.

    But on the whole it was the most satisfying DC movie in many years. I’m looking forward to the sequel. BTW, is Jenkins on record as WANTING to direct a sequel?

  7. George – I haven’t read the interviews pre and post-release close enough to point to a direct quote (I’m sure someone else has those links closer to hand) as I’d been trying to avoid as much plot detail as I could within reason, but I believe she’s already expressed that interest

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