Director Patty Jenkins Denies Wonder Woman Problems in Response to WB “Open Letter”


Posted on, the open letter was titled “An Open Letter To Warner Bros CEO Kevin Tsujihara About Layoffs, Zack Snyder, and Donuts.” It was allegedly written by an ex-employee who chose to use the pseudonym Gracie Law to admonish the studio and its head for what they feel are repeated failures with comic book movies and other franchises, as well as the effects they think those failures have had on people working at WB.

“It is unfathomable to me that Warner Bros could mess up a movie starring Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and The Joker so completely. But that just had me flummoxed,” they wrote. “A lot of fans might be angry (and rightfully so) because you keep completely whiffing at properties that they are desperate to love and enjoy, but this is a little more personal for me. See, I am a former Warner Bros employee.”

They don’t specify which part of the company they claim to have worked for but they go on to describe what they say it was like for them to work at the company in 2014 when 10% of the workforce was laid off (TheWrap says it was closer to 12.5%, or 1,000 employees).

This is how you opened a memo about layoffs. “Hey guys, we work hard for the people telling stories here and we want to make sure those visions are realized.” The balls on you.

That year we pursued the storytelling vision of Adam Sandler’s Blended and Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys. Failures. We pursued a potentially great summer movie like Edge of Tomorrow and completely botched its release. Same with Man From UNCLE. We dug in our heels and hoped The Hobbit Trilogy would somehow stop being a mediocre case of diminishing returns. Talented, loyal people packed their boxes and went home while your story tellers dropped the ball.

One could argue that this was not your fault. That you inherited former CEO Barry Meyer’s agenda and were merely trying to correct the course of an ocean liner heading for an iceberg.

But, they say, they couldn’t make that argument because of Man of Steel’s box office failure (Meyer stepped down as CEO in 2013, the same year that film was released). They claim they had this letter started last year but: “I kept holding off on doing anything with it because of one title: Suicide Squad. Zack Snyder’s Dawn of Justice was a fiasco, but here comes this plucky little dark adventure about antiheroes. I love David Ayer. I love Harley Quinn. I love Will Smith. Put the letter in a drawer. The ship isn’t sinking anymore. Everything is fine. There’s no way this movie is bad.” But in their opinion, Suicide Squad was a “trainwreck.”

“You, your executive team, and the vision of your ‘extraordinary storytellers’ that resulted in the loss of around one thousand jobs seem intent on crashing the ship into as much shit as you can find in the ocean by making inane decisions over and over again,” they write. Upon hearing Man of Steel 2 was in “active development” I had a few suggestions. Namely: WB should probably just stop their superhero relationship with Zack Snyder. It seems this letter writer feels the same way.

Zack Snyder is not delivering. Is he being punished? Assistants who were doing fantastic work certainly were. People in finance and in marketing and in IT. They had no say in a movie called Batman V Superman only having 8 minutes of Batman fighting Superman in it, that ends because their moms have the same name. Snyder is a producer on every DC movie. He is still directing Justice League. He is being rewarded with more opportunity to get more people laid off. I’m assuming you yourself haven’t been financially affected in any real way. You and your studio are the biggest lesson about life one can learn: The top screws up and the bottom suffers. Peter Jackson phones it in and a marketing supervisor has to figure out a plan B for house payments.

And while they’re not just speaking about DC Comics adaptations – “You just don’t get it. And it’s not just DC movies, it’s your whole slate. Jupiter Ascending. Get Hard. Hot Pursuit. Max. Vacation. Pan. Point Break. Fucking PAN, you jerk. People lost their jobs and you decided Pan was a good idea. You think another Jungle Book is a good idea.” – they go in on one more, Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman.

I wish to God you were forced to live out of a car until you made a #1 movie of the year. Maybe Wonder Woman wouldn’t be such a mess. Don’t try to hide behind the great trailer. People inside are already confirming it’s another mess. It is almost impressive how you keep rewarding the same producers and executives for making the same mistakes, over and over.

It should be pointed out that Warner Bros. has recently taken steps in an effort to course correct after criticisms. Geoff Johns was recently promoted and had a larger hand in Wonder Woman and I haven’t personally seen any reports yet on the quality of the project. While many have questioned the validity of this letter (Pajiba backed it up once again this morning), Jenkins decided it was important to tweet about it in an effort to respond to the allegations about her film:

Woah, just saw this press about WW having problems. Are they serious? This is some made up bs right here. Made up! Produce a source, anyone. You can’t because it’s entirely false. Don’t believe the hype people. Someone’s trying to spread some serious misinfo. Isn’t until you are intimately involved in these things that you realize how totally false these rumors can. Let me reassure you…Zero about the movie we are making has been called a mess by anyone in the know. Fact. Real lasso of truth, time, will reveal that letter to be false soon enough. But lame something so transparent in its agenda gets traction.

To close, the letter-writer compared making movies to making donuts.

If I worked at a donut stand, and I kept fucking up donuts, I’d be fired. Even if I made a tiny decent one every now and then, it doesn’t matter. I’m gonna get fired.”

I love that studio, and you’re allowing it to sink. It’s not about making movies for ‘the fans’ and not ‘the critics.’ It’s not even about ‘ruining childhoods.’ It’s about protecting livelihoods.

It’s time to wake up and make the fucking donuts, Kevin.

Besides Jenkins, no one at Warner Bros. has made a statement in response. What do you think of the allegations? How about Jenkins’ response?

9 Responses to “Director Patty Jenkins Denies Wonder Woman Problems in Response to WB “Open Letter””

  1. Nuuni Nuunani says:

    With Suicide Squad raking in a nice turn out at half a million already, and the Harley Quinn movie announced in response to the studios confidence in these characters, I have little doubt were going to see a similar turn out for Wonder Woman.

    Who knows? We might even get a period piece Etta Candy spinoff! Now that would be kickass!

  2. Wheelchair says:

    I really, really hate to say it, but this (plus Suicide Squad’s awful reviews seeming to indicate that it’s a studio problem rather than a director problem) has downgraded my excitement for the Wonder Woman movie from “cautiously optimistic” to just cautious.

  3. I think time will tell. A disgruntled former employee or a rando lying on the Internet could amount to the same thing. The DC…MU? universe doesn’t have a very solid track record, but the course correction we’ve heard of seems to indicate there be some sort of paradigm shift…the latest WW trailer was at least brightly colored and didn’t have the muddled blue filter all of the other movies have had. I’ll take that over nothing at all.