Wonder Woman is a big hit. There’s no other way to look at it. Critics love it (a first for the DC Extended Universe) and apparently, so do audiences. According to Deadline, the movie made $228 Million worldwide in its opening weekend. That’s an incredibly strong opening, and combined with the great word-of-mouth, Wonder Woman is easily the best movie the DCEU has given us yet. The movie finally delivered the unqualified hit that the struggling cinematic universe desperately needed.
It’s such an accomplishment that Gal Gadot shared a video on Facebook thanking fans for making the movie such a huge success. Calling it “the number one movie in the world,” Gadot thanked fans for all the love and support they’ve given her and the superhero she portrayed.
So given that it’s a gigantic hit with fans and critics alike, it’s obvious that there’s going to be a sequel. And since director Patty Jenkins turned in such an amazing movie with the first one, she’s gotta be locked in for the second, right? Right?
Well, as it turns out, no. Warner Bros. signed Gal Gadot to a multi-picture deal, but not Jenkins. Now, a lot of people are wondering why. The Hollywood Reporter pointed out that single-picture deals with directors are common at Warner Bros., and speculated that they were unprepared for just how much of a hit Wonder Woman would be. That would make sense. A lot of people underestimated this movie. Early tracking reports estimated the movie would make only $65 Million domestically in its opening weekend. It made over $100 Million.
That explanation isn’t sitting right with some fans. As io9 mentions, Justice League will be Zack Snyder’s third film in the DCEU, and while his first two films made money, they weren’t all that good. David Ayer is also signed on for Gotham City Sirens even after the mess that was Suicide Squad. It’s easy to look at this as an example of women not being given the benefit of the doubt in Hollywood the way men are. And that may very well be what happened here. Leading up to Wonder Woman’s release, there was a feeling that it needed to be a critical and commercial hit if we wanted any more women-led superhero movies. That’s a ridiculous amount of pressure to put on any movie, but Hollywood can certainly be ridiculous at times. It could also be that after the last two DCEU movies were high-profile misses, Warner Bros. decided to be more cautious with whatever came next. Which just happened to be Wonder Woman.
Whatever the reasoning behind Jenkins’ lack of a multi-picture deal, it may end up costing the studio a lot of money. Jenkins is clearly excited about sticking with the character and has been talking up her ideas for a sequel. But now that contract negotiations are starting after a fantastic opening weekend, Jenkins is in a position to make the studio pay up. She’s proven she can make a gigantic hit that’s beloved by pretty much everyone. Now she deserves to jack up her price for another.
Elsewhere in the DCEU, Justice League is currently undergoing some Joss Whedon-directed re-shoots. (Zack Snyder recently stepped away from the project to be with his family after a tragedy.) The re-shoots have sparked rumors that Warner Bros. is worried about the quality of the film. Some of the rumors have gone so far as to state that the film is basically being remade under the new director as the company tries to salvage it. That’s most likely not true.
The DCEU has hit a few bumps in its journey towards Justice League, but this reshoot period, expected to last for most of the summer, isn’t one of them. Forbes does a good job of debunking each rumor, but the basic gist of it is, every movie undergoes reshoots and pick-ups leading up to its release. Sometimes you get into the editing bay, and you realize you need an extra scene to make a later sequence make sense. Sometimes you find out a significant plot element doesn’t work at all and you need to call everyone back to try and fix it. It happens, and most budgets allow for this kind of thing.
These reshoots were planned long before Snyder stepped away from the project. He had already brought in Whedon to punch up the movie and add a few scenes. That’s all this re-shoot period is. We’ll have to wait until we actually see Justice League to judge its quality, but it’s not on fire the way the internet rumor mill would have you believe it is.
The last bit of sequel news to come out of the DCEU concerns the follow-up to Suicide Squad. While the first film wasn’t a critical success, it sure made a lot of money. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, actor Joel Kinnaman (who played Rick Flag in the movie) spoke about plans for the sequel.
“As far as I know they’re writing the script and I think the plan is to shoot it sometime in 2018,” he said. He did mention that the shooting schedule for Suicide Squad 2 could change depending on how the scriptwriting process goes. Whenever it happens, he says he’ll definitely come back for it.
While there’s no director attached to the movie yet, Kinnaman said he’d like to see David Ayer come back for the sequel. Failing that, he’d like to see “someone who is great with character, and that’s able to ground the story.” He says he’d really like to see the Suicide Squad characters take on a more mundane, grounded mission that requires them to interact with regular people. I wasn’t such a huge fan of the first movie, but that sounds like something even I’d want to see. If anything about Suicide Squad worked, it was the characters and the ways they bounced off each other. (Minus Jared Leto’s Joker.) Inflicting them on the outside world and watching what happens? That could make for a fun sequel.
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