You want Gal Gadot to extol the virtues of releasing the upcoming blockbuster Wonder Woman 1984 on the HBO Max streaming service? Well, it’s going to cost you. At least this is how it went down according to the New York Times.
Warner Bros. had a plan and that was to get Wonder Woman 1984 to as many eyes as possible. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to shut down most everything movie theater-related, they went to Plan B (which many think was their Plan A all along), and that was to send Wonder Woman 1984 to the flagging streaming service HBO Max. But to make this seem like a good idea, Warner needed to get Gal Gadot and the movie’s director Patty Jenkins on board. So, Warner Bros. approached Creative Artists and the William Morris Endeavor – agencies who represent both Gadot and Jenkins – about having the ladies help promote the move to HBO Max. The agency’s response: what’s in it for our clients?
Negotiations began on what sort of compensation would be given to Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins if they were to be on board with the new release strategy. The figure they settled on ended up being a seven-figure one: $10 million for both parties. Yes, you read that right. Both Gadot and Jenkins will be receiving over $10 million to back Warner’s play regarding the simultaneous release.
Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins’ representatives posed the argument that their clients should be paid what the Wonder Woman sequel would have earned at the box office if it weren’t for the COVID-related shutdowns happening around the globe. Warner seemed to acquiesce, feeling the $10 million each will be money well spent. They are, by the way, trying to find a solution to their paltry HBO Max numbers.
So, with $10 million in the bank, Patty Jenkins went on SiriusXM Jess Cagle’s Town Hall show to promote the film and the new release plan. She said, “If you had told me a year ago that we would ever go straight to streaming in any way, shape or form, I would have flipped out. Like I’m not for that plan in general, you know, I’m, I’m, I’m very pro theatrical release and I will be that again, as soon as this is over.” So, she didn’t start off with the praise, but she did continue. “However, this is such a crazy year. It’s such a crazy year. It’s like all of us are trying to figure out with our lives, how to do everything the best we can. And so I kept saying there is no good option. Like when we would talk about it, there was no good option. Wait until when. And then every movie in the world tries to come out at the same time. And you know, there was no good option. I literally gasped a little bit when the pitch for this idea was said, because I was like, ‘Oh, the idea of it going into people’s homes on Christmas Day.’” And then it seemed as though the payday she received truly kicked in. “I just was like, you know what, that’s actually pretty incredible to get to share whether, you know, it’s Christmas for people or not the holiday season and in this moment to just try to reach people however they can see it.”
So far, Gal Gadot has avoided speaking of the HBO Max move, which is neither a good nor bad thing, though Warner probably would like to hear Gadot singing its HBO Max praises. WarnerMedia’s move to release their entire 2021 slate both into any open movie theaters and HBO Max on the same day caught many across the Hollywood landscape by surprise. They left big stars such as Denzel Washington, Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Keanu Reeves, Hugh Jackman, and Angelina Jolie in the dark along with many agencies and talent management groups.
One director who holds a lot of clout, Christopher Nolan, publicly shamed Warner’s plan. “They don’t even understand what they’re losing. Their decision makes no economic sense and even the most casual Wall Street investor can see the difference between disruption and dysfunction,” said the director. He also added, “Some of our industry’s biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service.” Naturally, as with many things across the nation today, when someone gives their opinion, blowback is sure to follow and Nolan received his share of blowback.
Wonder Woman 1984 has Gal Gadot back as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, who is now fighting businessman Max Lord (Pedro Pascal) and Cheetah (Kristen Wiig). The movie will also see the return of Chris Pine as Steve Trevor.
Ultimately though, Jenkins was pleased that Wonder Woman 1984 would be seen by many, but she made it known that watching it on the biggest screen possible is her preference. “I’m so, so, so, so, so excited that people are going to see our film, however, wherever, but I do beg them [to] pick the biggest screen they can find, please,” she said via ET Canada.
Wonder Woman 1984 will premiere Christmas Day 2020 in theaters and on HBO Max.