After helming one of the biggest movies of 2017 and the box office hit of the summer, Patty Jenkins was due for a hefty payday when she signed on for the sequel to Wonder Woman.
But the director was aware of her greater responsibility when she negotiated her contract for the movie, hoping to create more opportunities for other women in Hollywood to receive increased salaries.
Jenkins is reported to receive $7 million to $9 million for Wonder Woman II, a record-breaking amount for a woman directing a movie. She discussed the negotiation process in a profile by Variety, detailing the deal’s importance and what it could mean for the entire filmmaking industry.
“You’re of course aware of the money,” said Jenkins. “But I’ve never been more aware of a duty than I was in this deal. I was extremely aware that I had to make sure I was being paid what the male equivalent would be.”
There have been many studies about the wage gap between genders, and it’s no different in Hollywood.
“Women who have not been in a system that allows them to build up the same level of pay as men are not able to be paid the same as men forever if that’s the way it continues,” Jenkins said. “You have to ask for it to happen, and you have to ask when you’re the appropriate person.”
Jenkins cited her friend Charlize Theron, whom she directed in a Oscar-winning performance in 2003’s Monster, as an example.
“I knew when Charlize had to do it on Snow White and the Huntsman, and I felt that it was my job to do it here.”
Theron negotiated a salary similar to Chris Hemsworth for The Huntsman: Winter’s War after the Sony hack in 2014 revealed she got paid less than her co-star.
“She is definitely paving the way for so many other female directors,” said Gadot. “I think it was very important that she fought to get the best deal. You got to walk the walk and talk the talk.”
Wonder Woman II is scheduled to start production next summer, and will premiere in theaters December 13, 2019.