The first Wonder Woman film, directed by Patty Jenkins, has been a game-changer for superhero movies and women in film. As the sequel launches Christmas Day, simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters, many are wondering if it will be a game changer for the box office. Jenkins sat down with The New York Times to discuss.

1984 was, she acknowledged, expected to break $1B pre-pandemic: “It would have been a news story about women making so much money in the box office this year, However, the more important thing is the movie finding its right audience, who is hungry for that experience.”

The sequel is set in the 1980s, and Gadot’s superheroine must battle Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal), who stokes the world’s avarice, and Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig), a nobody who becomes Cheetah, Wonder Woman’s comic-book rival.


Negotiations on the sequel were fraught, with Jenkins pushing for equal pay, a thorny issue in Hollywood in recent years. She said: “I wanted to get paid at least as much as people who have done less well with their first superhero movies.”

She added that her salary (reportedly $8 or $9 million) “feels great. It really does. The weirdest part about it is that you can’t even quite wrap your head around the money, as somebody who’s never made huge amounts of money before. Really, I was so distracted with why it had to be that way that I wasn’t even able to absorb it.”


Jenkins is keen to do what people say she can’t, she explained: “I did a couple of things in this movie that everybody said we couldn’t do: Nobody dies, and she wins in the end with a conversation. To me, this was a Trojan horse: I wanted to tick off every box of what you’re looking for in a superhero movie, but actually what I’m hopefully pulling off is a subversion where instead you’re saying to this younger generation that sees these movies, ‘You have to find the hero within."”


Is the big box office era over? “I would like to believe that it is temporary, but I’m not sure I do. But I’ll tell you, some studio’s going to go back to the traditional model and cause tremendous upheaval in the industry, because every great filmmaker is going to go work there. And the studios that make this radical change of moving their theatrical releases to a streaming service, particularly without consulting the artists, will end up with a very empty slate of quality filmmakers working there.”