Last week, ahead of the historic opening weekend box office for Wonder Woman, a report surfaced that director Patty Jenkins was already signed to return and helm the sequel, as was star Gal Gadot. This report was in fact a throwaway line in a much larger THR story on the making of the film, noting that Jenkins has an option to return, but given that THR usually isn’t one to throw around “news” like that willy nilly it seemed reputable enough.
Well as it turns out, while Gadot is contracted for a follow-up as part of her overall DCEU deal, Jenkins isn’t quite that official yet when it comes to her involvement in Wonder Woman 2. This news comes from the same source, THR, who now reports that Jenkins’ deal with Warner Bros. was to only direct one film. There’s certainly interest on both sides for her to return for Wonder Woman 2, and THR notes that negotiations are poised to begin soon, but this now also means that Jenkins is gonna get paid.
Wonder Woman was tracking to open around $65 million according to early projections—a solid but not over-the-moon number, and so WB wasn’t too concerned with securing plans for a sequel just yet. In the end, bolstered by rapturous reviews, the film opened to over $100 million, meaning that Jenkins now has a tremendous amount of leverage when it comes to negotiating a pay raise. And she should! A major reason why the film works as well as it does is Jenkins’ vision and passion, so she absolutely deserves a raise to return for the follow-up.
The filmmaker has already spoken enthusiastically about returning for Wonder Woman 2, saying she wants to bring Diana to America in the follow-up, and it would really be a shame if the first female director to crack $100 million at the opening weekend box office were shoved aside at the negotiating table while folks like Christopher Nolan or Jon Favreau were duly compensated to return for their sequels after proving they could launch superhero franchises of their own.
THR notes that it’s standard practice for Warner Bros. not to contract directors for multiple films, but also says the studio was “a bit unprepared” for just how successful Wonder Woman would be, and thus was somewhat caught off guard. The studio had been focusing on Justice League Dark and Joss Whedon’s Batgirl as potentially the next movies to go into production in the DCEU—it sounds like they were unsure of Wonder Woman’s success and were maybe going to take the Man of Steel approach by teaming her up with other heroes instead of giving her a proper sequel straight away.
It was apparently only in recent weeks that buzz for the film began to grow on the studio lot, and thus Warner Bros. wanted to wait until opening weekend before beginning any negotiations with Jenkins for a possible sequel. But now, given the film’s commercial and critical success, the studio would be foolish not to secure Jenkins to spearhead the follow-up, and the filmmaker has plenty of leverage going in. Moreover, THR notes that a potential deal for Jenkins to direct Wonder Woman 2 could also allow her to work with Geoff Johns on a script treatment for the sequel and possibly other DCEU movies as well.
Indeed, producer Charles Roven recently revealed to us that while Allan Heinberg has the “screenplay by” credit on Wonder Woman, Jenkins and Johns did a significant amount of work to bring the script home once Heinberg left. In an ideal world, they’d team up to flesh Wonder Woman 2 out with Jenkins putting the film together from the ground up.