If a new report is to be believed, Gal Gadot is putting her money where her mouth is. The Wonder Woman actress and the lead of Warner Bros.’ most successful current DC Comics franchise has been taking her duties as Wonder Woman seriously, speaking out about the importance of feminism, representation, and female role models as the World War I-set superhero film smashed box office records all summer. Warner Bros. announced a December 2019 release date for Wonder Woman 2 this fall, and director Patty Jenkins finally closed her deal to return for the sequel after successfully lobbying for pay equal to what male colleagues would receive to return for a major superhero sequel. But now, theoretically at least, Wonder Woman 2 could be in a bit of doubt.
Per Page Six, Gadot is refusing to return for Wonder Woman 2 unless Brett Ratner and his RatPac-Dune Entertainment production company are removed from the follow-up. This comes on the heels of a thorough report in the Los Angeles Times regarding Ratner’s history of sexual harassment, with actress Ellen Page coming forward with her own story of Ratner’s harassment just a few days ago.
RatPac-Dune Entertainment has been key to a lot of Warner Bros.’ films, as Ratner’s company has helped co-financed a variety of WB movies from Dunkirk to The LEGO Movie to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and, yes, Wonder Woman. In 2013, Warner Bros. signed a lucrative deal with RatPac in which Ratner’s company would pony up $450 million in financing for various WB projects. That’s a lot of cash, and while Warner Bros. made moves on November 1st to cut ties with Ratner—including removing his name from upcoming films and taking away his office on the lot—the deal with RatPac-Dune doesn’t expire until spring 2018. The studio reportedly won’t be renewing that deal, but if this PageSix report is true, Gadot is putting her foot down and forcing WB to either find a new investment partner for Wonder Woman 2 or shoulder the entire cost of the film themselves.
The validity of this report is unclear. Gadot was already contracted to return for a Wonder Woman sequel, so while she could certainly fight to get out of the contract if WB refused to remove Ratner entirely from Wonder Woman 2, it would be something of a legal battle. And PageSix isn’t the most accurate of sources for entertainment business news. But it all does make a lot of sense, so it’s certainly possible this report is true.
Just before the LA Times story on Ratner hit, Gadot pulled out of presenting Ratner with the Jewish National Fund’s highest humanitarian award. And Jenkins—who ended up presenting the award herself—has since voiced her displeasure with word of Ratner’s alleged behavior.
So yeah, this is an interesting turn of events. If the PageSix report is true, there’s no way Warner Bros. jeopardizes its only surefire DC franchise at the moment, so RatPac-Dune would likely be removed from Wonder Woman 2 entirely. But that does pose something of a financing dilemma for the studio, and it’ll be interesting to see what moves they make in the months to come. The major RatPac-Dune deal came on the heels of Legendary—WB’s previous co-financing partner—moving over to Universal Pictures, so the studio is no doubt on the hunt for investment partners at the moment.