The long-awaited sequel Wonder Woman 1984 is just a week away from hitting theaters and premiering on HBO Max, but the movie hit some major hurdles in securing the talents of director Patty Jenkins. While she made a name for herself in directing film and TV projects like Monster and The Killing, her name didn't demand a major paycheck — until directing the smash hit Wonder Woman. So when it came to the sequel, Jenkins negotiated for a major pay day consistent with her peers directing hit sequels to superhero movies. And that almost did not happen, apparently, to the point where she almost walked away from the project.
Jenkins recently spoke to promote Wonder Woman 1984 on the Happy Sad Confused podcast. During the discussion, she detailed why the process took so long for Warner Bros. Pictures to announce that she was returning to direct the sequel, which seemed like a no-brainer decision after the success of the original.
"I started to walk away," explained Jenkins. "I was gonna’ walk away. 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."
She added, "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. 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,’" Jenkins explained. "But now the shoe is on the other foot so it’s time to turn the tables."
Jenkins compared what she was being offered compared to other men in the industry in similar situations. Unsurprisingly, some of her male counterparts were getting much bigger paychecks for their work.
"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," Jenkins explained. "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. 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."
Fans will get to celebrate Jenkins' return to the franchise when Wonder Woman 1984 premieres in theaters and on HBO Max on December 25th.