The pandemic has brought about a sea change in the film industry, but contrary to the opinions of industry analysts and studio heads around the world, filmmaker Patty Jenkins is not so sure that the strategy of the day and the date will hold.
“I don’t think it’s going to last,” the director said THR during a June 24 getaway in the new Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood, host of new exhibition featuring Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984, which debuted in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously. “Streaming is great, but everyone is chasing it for financial reasons, and I don’t think the financial support is there to keep the industry as it is,” she said. “It’s one thing if there was only Netflix, but now every company offers streaming. People are not going to subscribe to that much. Are studios really going to give up billion dollar movies just to support their streaming service? Financially, I don’t think that makes sense. I see the theater coming back, and both should and will exist. People like to go to the movies. It wasn’t because they couldn’t see movies at home. We were always able to watch movies at home. This is nothing new. I think it’s totally coming back.
Jenkins attended the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood to help promote the revamped experience, which reopened to the public on June 26. Among the new features: A “Storytelling Showcase” which details the evolution of Warner Bros. during its nearly 100 years of history; “Action and Magic Made Here”, a grand finale experience featuring the DC Universe, Harry potter and Fantastic beasts franchisees; and an extensive Warner Bros. store. Studio with new items and memorabilia. Nearby: a Friends experience that includes an updated Central Perk and Friends shop.
Jenkins had great difficulty in selecting the exhibits in the Wonder woman franchise, including original props and costumes worn by Gal Gadot, Chris Pine and Kristen Wiig. Hollywood journalist caught up with Jenkins on how she’s adjusting to the Star wars universe, the rest of her 2020 schedule and what it was like to see all Wonder woman memorabilia on display – especially those golden wings.
Now that you’ve taken a step back from exiting Wonder Woman 1984, something you would have done differently?
I’m not sure what I would have done differently because I think in the end it was a compromised decision based on a series of compromised options. There was no good option. Unlike a lot of movies coming out now, we’ve been sitting on a finished movie for a while. From there, we watched each movie cascading. What we were up against was a pile-up [of releases]. The theaters literally asked us to do it. They said, “We will close our doors if no one comes in. So what are you going to do? I am filled with sadness that there was not a real theatrical release. I hope that one day it will happen. It completely changes the way people see it, but what are you going to do? It happened. So many people went through terrible things during the pandemic, and we were one of the losses.
You had one of the best announcements of the pandemic, in my opinion, when you got dressed and revealed that you are leading Star Wars: Rogue Squadron. How is the development going?
It’s going amazing. I was already there six months before I even announced it, so we’re pretty into it. We finish a script, we get together, and everything goes wonderfully. I am so excited about the story and excited that we are the next chapter of Star wars, which is such a responsibility and such an opportunity to really start new things. It’s really exciting that way.
How is the consultation process with the Star wars brain confidence?
There are plenty. It’s a whole different way of working. I am on the phone with everyone and I do Zoom meetings with everyone involved in Star wars All the time. I’m pretty free to make the story we want to make, but you really need to know who’s done what, who’s doing what, where it’s going and how it’s working, and what designs have been done before. It’s a whole different way of working that I’m updating myself on.
We’re sitting here in Warner Bros. space. Studio Tour. I saw you could walk around a bit and see the Wonder woman installation and the other films shown here. How did you feel to see your work exhibited here?
It’s completely surreal. When you’ve worked a lot on this stuff, you find yourself saying, “Oh my God, Casablanca pulled here? Get out of here! ”Then you turn a corner and your things are on display. It is almost impossible to marry these two things – the legendary movies that were made here and the fact that I have now entered this story. [with Wonder Woman]. It’s wild. It’s also amazing to see objects and costumes that we designed and worked on on display. It’s really great to see the golden wings. We actually did them on set and rarely saw them extended because it’s not something you could practically shoot very well. To see them displayed in all their glory is incredible.
When you see the full exhibition, is there something or a detail that jumped out at you?
First of all, everything I have approved here 700,000 times. They showed me how they were going to do the lasso, the wings and all that stuff. It’s also funny because it’s such a complicated process to make each [object]. Everything on display is something I’ve looked at 40 different versions of. Like Dr Maru’s book, for example, we worked on how it looked, what the lock looked like, how it closed, etc.
These are the kinds of things they might not teach you in film school. If you could go back and say something to this version of yourself to prepare for what you’re doing today, what would you say?
It’s so funny, I was just talking about that. I had a book called Movies when I was a kid, and it was published in the 50’s. I was so obsessed with this book. I looked at the pictures over and over and I knew all the silent movie stars. I was so interested in illusions and how filmmakers would accomplish certain things visually, never thinking that I was going to be a filmmaker. I went to the cinema after painting in a school of fine arts. I never thought I was a Hollywood director. I was obviously very interested in it, but I got there in a bit of an accidental way going from step to step. The next thing I know, I got into the book that I had looked at so many times when I was a kid. It’s wild. I’m a Hollywood director now – it’s so crazy.
And now to be among those other movies here too. Did you have any inside favorites?
the Harry potter exposure. I met JK [Rowling], and I shot in the studios where they did Harry potter. Also, I have a son who is a fanatic fanatic. The fact that something like this has been done by people in our time is legendary. I’m not sure if the people who invented DC Comics could have understood how important their contributions would be, and now have something like Harry potter created by this generation sitting next to it – I’m blown away by this heritage.
What is your schedule like for the rest of the year?
Job. I can’t tell you what a relief it is. I was so exhausted after Wonder Woman 1984. Can’t believe how relieved it is to go back and do another one. This is what has been so surreal. There was something so strange about the pandemic with everything down there. Just the thought of “We’re going to do some scouting.” »I know how to scout! These are things I can do. Whereas everything we did during this pandemic was so confusing and unusual. I’m so excited to be working and making a movie. It feels like a warm embrace instead of an overwhelming task. It is such a delicious surprise.
Interview edited for length and clarity.
Scroll down for more images of the interior of the Warner Bros. Hollywood Studio Tour.
A version of this story first appeared in the June 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.