With Wonder Woman grossing $115 million at the box office since its June 2 release (including a $103 million opening weekend), a sequel to the superhero film seems all but a certainty. (The movie also earned $125 million internationally, meaning that it’s already made nearly twice its budget back, thus assuring success.)
We’ll see Diana of Themyscira again this year with her fellow DC Comics superheroes in November’s Justice League. But Wonder Woman has clearly filled a void that comic book movie fans and studio executives didn’t realize was yearning to be filled. People wanted one of the culture’s most iconic superheroes to get the big-screen treatment that Batman and Superman have already received. But not even Marvel has given a female superhero her own film, and audiences were clearly waiting for one to provide a fresh take on summer blockbusters.
As the box office totals were ringing up over the weekend and thoughts turned to an inevitable sequel, reports circulated that star Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins were already signed on for a sequel. For Gadot, that shouldn’t have been a surprise. Warner Brothers surely signed her for multiple films, including the Justice League films and maybe appearances in other DC Extended Universe films down the line. It’s standard procedure for these sorts of movies now.
That isn’t usually the case for directors, however. What if their film is a flop? A studio will probably want to move on with a different filmmaker if it wants to continue the property. As it turns out, reports of Jenkins already being contracted for a sequel were premature. According to The Hollywood Reporter‘s Borys Kit, Jenkins has not yet been signed to direct a Wonder Woman sequel. (In doing so, THR is backtracking on its own initial reporting.)
Not signing Jenkins for a follow-up was somewhat understandable. Jenkins had only directed one film prior to Wonder Woman, 2003’s Monster, though she was originally tabbed to direct 2013’s Thor: The Dark World for Marvel. She wasn’t even Warner Brothers’ first choice on this project, as Michelle McLaren was originally hired for the gig before leaving due to “creative differences.”
Though Jenkins had no prior experience directing a big-budget studio blockbuster, it’s curious that she wasn’t the choice from the very beginning when she’s expressed in interviews how long she’s wanted to direct a Wonder Woman movie and how much 1978’s Superman: The Movie influenced her. (Wonder Woman includes some definite callbacks to Richard Donner’s film.)
However, not being signed for a sequel could now work out in Jenkins’s favor. She’s in a far better negotiating position with Wonder Woman‘s success and as of this writing, the movie hasn’t even been in theaters for a full week. With positive word-of-mouth, Wonder Woman could have a long run through the summer. And it hasn’t even opened in some international territories yet.
Inking Jenkins for a Wonder Woman sequel is very likely a priority for Warner Bros. She already has ideas for the follow-up, saying that the Amazon princess will likely be in modern America next time around. In addition to the success of the film, Jenkins has been a tireless promoter and news outlets have eaten up the story of this being a dream project for her. A female superhero headlining a movie is certainly a big story, but such a project being directed by a female filmmaker makes it even more notable. Jenkins has broken through a glass ceiling and hopefully forever silenced the notion that women can’t direct blockbuster movies. At this point, it would be a public relations embarrassment to not bring Jenkins back for another film.
Additionally, Jenkins has done so well with Wonder Woman, bringing some light to what has been a dark DC cinematic universe, that DC Films should strongly consider giving her a larger role with the DC Extended Universe. Perhaps she can take over for Zack Snyder in working with DC Entertainment president Geoff Johns to oversee the entire slate and make sure there’s a continuity and cohesiveness among all of the movies to come. She clearly has a love of superhero material and brings a sensibility far different than what Snyder has instilled thus far. That is, unless she prefers to do other projects as well. Jenkins has put herself in heavy demand now.