The DC Extended Universe has been a mess ever since it began, but one bright shining light in the darkness of their films has been Wonder Woman. Currently estimated to have earned $410 million domestically and counting, it is one of the all time most successful superhero movies by any studio. but ever since it opened to rave reviews, fans have been wondering at the lack of announcement yet that Petty Jenkins will direct the Wonder Woman sequel. And now we know why. She was driving one hell of a bargain.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, which broke the news:
Sources say Jenkins will receive directing and writing fees in the high seven figures (think somewhere in the $7 to $9 million range) on Wonder Woman 2 but, more significantly, will have a considerable backend.
She will not only be directing the sequel either, but will have full control as producer as well, something that's not so unusual for successful male directors, but is far harder to lasso in for female ones. As THR notes, even at her peak, Nancy Meyers, one of the most successful women in Hollywood in the 90s and 00s, only earned $5 million per film or so.
Part of the reason for Jenkins hard driving negotiations -- as fans of the DCEU will remember, she wasn't originally slated to direct this film at all. Jenkins was brought on as a replacement after the original director, Michelle McLaren, quit over "creative differences" with the DCEU and Warner Brothers.
Because of that, Jenkins didn't have a multi-film deal already in place when her movie began shattering records, but was basically on contract for a one-and-done. As the box office for Wonder Woman just kept climbing over the course of the summer, and Wonder Woman 2, with Gal Godot signed to take part in the next film, was the DCEU's only guaranteed sequel with chance of success, her position at the table became more solid.
The deal is a superheroic leap for Jenkins, who was paid $1 million for directing the initial Wonder Woman but was looking to get something more on the level of Zack Snyder's pay after he directed Man of Steel, according to sources. Just like the Wonder Woman movie broke glass ceilings for superhero movies, Jenkins' deal breaks glass for women directors.
As of last weekend, Wonder Woman had surpassed Marvel's Iron Man 3, and is currently sitting at number 5 in the all time domestically successful superhero films. Of the other four, none of them are technically part of the DCEU, though two do belong to Warner Brothers -- that's The Dark Knight Rises (at number 4 with $448 million), and The Dark Knight (at number 2 with $534 million). The others are Marvel movies, Avengers: Age of Ultron (number 3, with $459 million), and The Avengers (still number 1, with $623 million).
While Wonder Woman has grossed so high, it's still a problem getting studios to make female led fantasy movies. In the DCEU, Gal Gadot is the only female superhero introduced so far, though Warner Brothers is working hard to catch up with Joss Whedon's idea for a Batgirl movie. (One they admit was not even on their radar until he pitched it.) While Marvel is behind in getting any female superhero lead movies to the box office, they at least have several characters in play including Black Widow, Gamora, and the she'll-show-up-in-one-of--these-movies-yet Captain Marvel.
Wonder Woman 2 already has a set date for a box office debut, December 13th, 2019, in the slot that has been occupied by Star Wars these last few years. (By 2019, they will have moved to May releases, leaving it open.) For those of us that were thrilled at Jenkins' first outing with the character, this is looking like the best holiday gift ever to close out the decade.