After Wonder Woman 1984’s release date was bumped back again…and again…and again by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Warner Bros. announced that Patty Jenkins’ superheroine sequel would debut on HBO Max Friday, with the film simultaneously screening in theaters wherever possible. In a New York Times interview Monday, the director reflected on her thoughts about testing out a tentpole on streaming, and her takeaways from the experience. For example, while Jenkins is uncertain that the industry will inevitably veer back from simultaneous releases on streaming, those studios that prioritize their films playing in movie theaters will attract, she says, “every great filmmaker” working in Hollywood today.
“I would like to believe that it is temporary, but I’m not sure I do,” Jenkins says, when asked about next year’s Warner Bros. HBO Max plan. “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.”
Directors like Patty Jenkins, potentially. While she recalls being “shocked” when the studio approached her to debut Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max, a conversation that launched “a very, very long process, and I don’t know that they would have let us disagree based on what they’ve been doing now,” Jenkins can tell you one thing about the future of the DC franchise: she probably won’t come back for a hypothetical Wonder Woman 3 without the likelihood of a theatrical run.
“We’ll see what happens. I really don’t know,” she says of the threequel. “I know that I’d love to do the third one if the circumstances were right and there was still a theatrical model possible. I don’t know that I would if there wasn’t.”