Wonder Woman was a massive success when it opened in 2017. However, Patty Jenkins’ return to the director’s chair for Wonder Woman 1984 wasn’t always a sure thing. In fact, Jenkins came pretty close to leaving the DC Universe behind altogether. The reason? Warner Bros. executives apparently didn’t want to pay her as much as her male colleagues.
Jenkins’ deal to return for the sequel took noticeably longer than anyone was expecting. But sticking to her guns definitely paid off. When she and WB finally reached an agreement two months after the first film’s debut, Deadline noted that it made her “the highest-paid female director in town.” Jenkins recounted this experience while appearing on Josh Horowitz’s Happy Sad Confused podcast (via Collider).
“I started to walk away, I was gonna walk away,” said Jenkins. “I even said I’d be happy to go to another studio and make a quarter as much because it’s not a sequel, on principle, no problem.”
Jenkins film career began on the indie circuit. Before landing Wonder Woman, her only film was 2003’s Monster, which made over $64 million against an $8 million budget. These are impressive numbers. But it’s small change compared to Wonder Woman’s $822 million worldwide gross.
“It’s interesting as someone who never made any profit in my career up until Wonder Woman, that I was always at peace with it,” explained Jenkins. “I was like, ‘Hey I get it.’ But now I was like, ‘Listen, I never made any money in my career because you always had the leverage and I didn’t.’ But now the shoe is on the other foot so it’s time to turn the tables. I don’t want to talk about a quote system that’s boxed me out and it’s not even true. It was easy to find that all of the men not just had quotes, they’d made an independent film and then a first [superhero] movie. They got paid seven times more than me for the first superhero movie.”
“Then on the second one, they got paid more than me still,” continued Jenkins. “It was an easy fight to say, ‘This can’t be. It super can’t be. And it really can’t be on Wonder Woman…It was an interesting thing to do, but it was an easy thing to do in the fact I was dead serious. That I was like ‘If I can’t be victorious in this regard, then I’m letting everyone down.’ If not me, who? So it became something I became very, very, very passionate about.”
Wonder Woman 1984 hits theaters and HBO Max on December 25.
What do you make of Jenkins’ comments about the gender pay gap in Hollywood? Tell us what you think in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Blood (The New 52)
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