If Wonder Woman could be said to have shattered the glass ceiling for the commercial viability of female-fronted superhero movies, then director Patty Jenkins is about to do the same for the paychecks of women directors.
After earning $1 million for directing the original Wonder Woman, which has raked in more than $821 million around the globe to date, Jenkins is receiving a hell of a raise for the second chapter. For Wonder Woman 2 she’ll be making $9 million instead, which is the highest paycheck that any female director has ever brought home in cinema history, according to Variety.
The record had previously been held by Nancy Myers, the director of successful comedies such as What Women Want, Something’s Gotta Give and The Holiday, but her highest payday reportedly peaked at $5 million per film. That means Jenkins has almost doubled the previous tally as a reward for the huge success of Wonder Woman.
Jenkins has spoken in the past about the importance of women in the Hollywood system going out and fighting for compensation that is equal to their male counterparts. It would be nice to assume that simply putting in good work, or even starring in (or directing) a film would naturally lead to that kind of equality, but in many cases, the performers still have to ask for equal pay, if not demand it.
“You’re of course aware of the money,” said Jenkins in a 2017 Variety interview. “But I’ve never been more aware of a duty than I was in this deal. I was extremely aware that I had to make sure I was being paid what the male equivalent would be. Women who have not been in a system that allows them to build up the same level of pay as men are not able to be paid the same as men forever if that’s the way it continues. You have to ask for it to happen, and you have to ask when you’re the appropriate person. I knew when Charlize had to do it on Snow White and the Huntsman, and I felt that it was my job to do it here.”
Congratulations, Patty Jenkins. Hopefully, this gaudy payday will raise the bargaining power of lesser known female directors everywhere.