One of the most consistent issues that Warner Bros. has exhibited is their inability to get out of their own way, even when they have properties and characters that appear to be sure-fire hits. The mega-studio has especially proven this to be the case in recent years with the DC Extended Universe, a franchise which has garnered mixed reactions despite mostly-profitable financial returns.
The studio's issues have manifested in recent news stories, including with the major money controversy that Warner Bros. is dealing with in relation to the high profile celebrities they employ. Along with this is the very public backlash the company has faced after the decision to release their entire slate of movies in 2021 simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max.
Many of these problems may be leading to an untimely departure for one of the DCEU's most acclaimed directors, who shared her feelings on the matter in a recent sit-down.
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins discussed the long, drawn out process she has had to endure with Warner Bros. in terms of the continuous delays to the release of Wonder Woman 1984. Jenkins' main issue is the fact that continuous shifting of release dates caused uncertainty in terms of how long she would have to work on the film's post-production:
"I never wanted it to come out in the winter. I was fighting the studio because we were supposed to come out summer of 2020, and then they didn’t have a big movie for 2019. I was in the middle of making a limited series, and all of a sudden they announced that they had moved up the release date by seven months, which was going to give me way less time to make the movie than I had for “Wonder Woman.” I was saying, “You guys, why would you guarantee I can’t make as good of a film by making it too quick? So we argued about that all year, and I had to drop out of doing a whole limited series and only do the first two episodes, and just race to write an 80-page treatment at the same time as I’m trying to direct the show. We finally got lucky that it got moved back. It would have been a much worse movie if it had come out then."
After the movie was ready to release, the global pandemic caused even more delays from the planned June 2020 release date. Jenkins proceeded to discuss how Warner Bros. seemed to be making decisions for this release on the fly at every turn:
"It was a fascinating thing, because it wasn’t like any of those calls were confident. It was a group of us sitting around going, “I don’t know, I guess we could say, ‘Three months from now,’ and then we’ll see what happens.” That was a trip, to be talking about a major movie like that with the heads of the studio and the heads of marketing, and everybody’s like, “I guess let’s just say October?”
WHAT THIS MEANS
Recent reports have detailed how Patty Jenkins is growing unsure on her involvement on Wonder Woman 3, and these quotes could certainly be reason enough for her to turn away from the film. Even considering how nobody was prepared for the effects of the global pandemic, it's clear that Warner Bros. didn't see eye to eye with Jenkins on a few different aspects of her upcoming sequel, including when it should release.
The original Wonder Woman turned into a worldwide phenomenon after releasing in the summer of 2017, becoming one of the DCEU's most successful films critically and financially. It seems like an obvious decision that Jenkins would be given much more clout and control of her future franchise plans considering how well her work was received by fans, but Warner Bros. still approached the sequel with caution.
Patty Jenkins is still excited to release Wonder Woman 1984 this week as shown in her most recent interviews, but there is growing doubt behind the scenes as to whether her DCEU run will continue. With a potential Wonder Woman 3 and a rumored spin-off hanging in the balance, there is plenty of work to do in terms of Jenkins gaining back the trust of Warner Bros. and DC Films.