Well, that didn’t last long. Patty Jenkins just concluded her talks with Warner Bros and DC to return to the DC Extended Universe with the sequel to the critically acclaimed, box office smash that was Wonder Woman. It was up in the air as to whether she’d return at all, but she did seem pretty hopeful. Thankfully, she’s back in the director’s chair.
In fact, not only is she back, this deal is record-breaking. It reportedly makes Patty Jenkins the highest paid female director ever. That’s already a big deal, but then one considers the movie that did it. That is some good karma or powerful symbolism or whatever you please. Will it set a precedent for the future? Who knows. Possibly. Hopefully. According to interviews, the talks took as long as they did (maybe longer in Hollywood time than to the rest of us) because Jenkins insisted on getting a payday comparable to what any male director would receive for returning after such a success.
Jenkins will receive an $8 million payday on Wonder Woman 2, not including back-end pay from the film’s box office. Does that measure up? Well, it’s difficult to tell. For a first outing in movies like this, it’s normal for pay to be lower for everyone, with directors earning closer to $1.5 – $3 million. Even some movies with established directors run into this. Iron Man did, back in 2007. It’s usually followed by a pay raise in the sequel for all returning parties. But then compare to Zack Snyder, who is honestly a bad example, as he’s a far more established director in this space. Snyder reportedly made somewhere in the ballpark of $10 million for Man of Steel. And that was his first dive into the DCEU. Of course, Superman was already a proven quantity at the time, unlike the then untested big screen appeal of Wonder Woman.
The actual bank Jenkins made on the first film hasn’t been disclosed, as these figures unfortunately tend not to be. They’re only predicted and estimated. But an $8 million payday already sends Jenkins soaring a good $3 million ahead of Nancy Meyers, whose previous record was $5 million. And again, this doesn’t account for back-end pay on the box office, which is projected to boost Jenkins to the $9 to $10 million mark. This is a far cry from the $20 million paydays of superstar directors like Christopher Nolan and Peter Jackson. But it is a bit closer to the low end $12 million made by Todd Phillips, per movie.
Could it be better? Certainly. But, all in all, this says fairly good things. It’s a pretty decent step in the right direction. Hopefully the industry continues moving in this direction, incentivizing and rewarding female directors (and talent, in general) more closely to their male counterparts.
Wonder Woman 2 is slated for release in December, 2019.