Wonder Woman is one of the most successful, popular movies of the year. It has turned Gal Gadot into a star, and made Patty Jenkins a power player behind the camera. We’ve already seen Jenkins use her new juice to secure a sweet deal to return to direct Wonder Woman 2, and now we are getting a taste of what Hollywood player Gal Gadot is like, and she’s, well, pretty much Wonder Woman. It came out over the weekend that Gadot is making Brett Ratner’s involvement in Wonder Woman 2 a deal breaker: reportedly she won’t carry Diana’s sword again if Ratner is affiliated with the sequel.
We knew something was up with Ratner in the first place because Gadot backed out of presenting him with an award from the Jewish National Fund (Jenkins ended up presenting the award). The official line was “scheduling conflicts”, and as Justice League press had started in China, it seemed reasonable. Except that 1) those press events are scheduled far enough in advance someone would have been able to see that conflict coming a lot sooner, and 2) Ratner’s name had already come up in the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s initial scandal. Gadot skipped Ratner’s dinner and everyone went, Oh he’s next, and then guess what? He was next. It was almost like Gadot heard something and didn’t want to be on stage with Ratner days before the story broke. (Poor Patty Jenkins, undoubtedly too tied to Warner Brothers by that time to do the same.)
And now Gadot, who is negotiating for Wonder Woman 2, is apparently throwing her weight behind making sure Ratner is not involved with the movie. Here’s where things get a little inside baseball. Ratner’s company, RatPac-Dune, has a co-financing deal with Warners that expires in March 2018. At this point, I doubt it’s renewed, unless Ratner exits the company (and even then, will it be enough, with complicity tainting the other executives). But Warners also had a separate first-look production deal with RatPac Entertainment, a subsidiary of RatPac-Dune. That deal has already lapsed, and is not being renewed. Ratner has moved his office out of Frank Sinatra’s old office on the Warners lot, and his name is being taken off projects such as The Goldfinch. Producer Ratner is done at Warners.
But Money Man Ratner isn’t. That financing deal still stands until next March, a total of $450 million used to support Warners’ costs on as many as 75 films. Without actually looking at Warners’ books, it’s impossible to know exactly how much RatPac money is tied up in projects that are in development, like Wonder Woman 2. The deal was an across-the-board investment in Warners’ slate for multiple years, it wasn’t a pick-and-choose arrangement where RatPac got to decide where and how much to invest (like Legendary did when partnered with Warners). So it is very possible that at least a little RatPac money is being mixed into the funds used to keep the lights on at the WW2 office. And that deal is an investment, RatPac-Dune gets a chunk of the profits. Wonder Woman 2 doesn’t come out till 2019, and Ratner may well be long gone by then, but the company and all its questionable complicity can still benefit from the deal. That’s how deep the claws go, that’s how sunk into the very marrow of Hollywood these players are.
So Gadot’s demand—and it should be noted a Warners rep officially claims it’s “False”, per Page Six—is most pointed at ensuring the RatPac-Dune financing deal isn’t renewed. Ratner’s name has already been scrubbed from Justice League, he’s already out as an on-the-lot producer at Warners. The only thing left is that financing deal, which means Gadot is pushing back against the good ol’ boy money network, Hollywood Command Central itself. I have been cynical about what the repercussions for someone as connected at Ratner will really be, and have called him the canary in the coal mine for the whole harassment scandal. Well, this is the moment. It’s Warners’ golden girl against their favorite money man. Gal Gadot is standing in the mine, and she just lit a match.