Box office: ‘The Batman’ hits $128 million, second-biggest pandemic debut

London launch of The Batman
Cast members Robert Pattinson and Zoe Kravitz arrive at the London launch of ‘The Batman’ on February 23, 2022 in London, Britain. REUTERS/Tom Nicholson

March 6, 2022

By Rebekah Rubin

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – Holy ticket sales, Batman!

Robert Pattinson’s pitch-black superhero adventure The Batman grossed a whopping $128.5 million in its theatrical debut, marking easily the best opening weekend of 2022. More impressively, it’s only the second film from the pandemic era , which surpassed $100 million in a single weekend, a feat first matched by Spider-Man: No Way Home, which launched last December with a historic $260 million.

Thanks to positive reviews, strong reception from ticket buyers, and huge excitement to see Pattinson’s moody take on the Caped Crusader, The Batman is shaping up to be a commercial winner for Warner Bros. That’s good news, as the studio has upped the ante by a whopping $200 million to produce the film and spent many millions more on marking and distribution costs. Bringing Batman to the big screen doesn’t come cheap, and it won’t be easy to achieve profitability.

“The Batman” should also benefit from this, because the comic adaptation only runs in cinemas. For Warner Bros., who have opted to debut their entire 2021 theatrical slate simultaneously on HBO Max, The Batman marks a departure as the studio’s first film in over a year to be seen only in theaters. The Batman lands on HBO Max in 45 days.

It’s impossible to gauge the box office impact of having movies streamed on a daily basis, but The Batman generated more money in its opening weekend than any other Warner Bros. pandemic film to have grossed in its entire theatrical run. Prior to The Batman, the studio’s top-grossing films as of March 2020 were Godzilla vs. Kong ($100 million in North America) and Dune ($109 million in North America).

Of course, it helps that The Batman has the glittery promise of a former Twilight heartthrob playing one of the most iconic comic book characters in history. But there were many factors that could have worked against a different, less popular version of The Batman. For one, it lasts three hours, which is a long time even for the biggest movie lover. Not to mention that the logistics of the long run meant that theater operators had to limit the number of performances per day.

Rated PG-13 rather than R, directed by Matt Reeves, The Batman was able to capture the key demographic of younger males who have fueled the shaky domestic box office recovery.

In addition to Pattinson, The Batman also stars Paul Dano as Riddler, Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Andy Serkis as Batman’s butler Alfred Pennyworth, and Colin Farrell as crime boss Penguin. By focusing on Bruce Wayne’s alter ego as “World’s Greatest Detective,” the film feels more like dark noir than an escapist superhero adventure. Reviews seemed to like this approach, as The Batman was praised for being markedly different from previous adventures centered around Gotham’s fierce defenders, like director Christopher Nolan’s revered The Dark Knight trilogy or Ben Affleck’s brooding one Middle-aged take on the character in Batman v. super man

Ahead of this weekend, Tom Holland’s video game adaptation Uncharted held the title for the biggest opening weekend of the year with initial sales of $44 million. Based on a much more ubiquitous object, The Batman surpassed that benchmark after earning $57 million on opening day alone. But Uncharted, which is still in theaters, has done solid business despite the overwhelming attention it has received for The Batman. In second place, the film grossed $10 million in 3,875 theaters between Friday and Sunday, taking Uncharted over $100 million at the domestic box office.

Channing Tatum’s canine adventure “Dog” debuted at #3 with $6 million in 3,507 theaters. The road trip buddies comedy continues to surprise, surpassing $40 million in North America over the weekend. In times of COVID-19, this is a promising result for a film with a budget of $15 million.

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Death on the Nile” occupied #4 and #5 on the domestic box office charts.

The third Spidey installment, with Holland at the helm, netted $4.3 million over the weekend, taking the domestic tally to a staggering $786 million. It’s the third weekend in a row that Holland has been in two of the top four films at the weekend box office. In a particularly rare feat, No Way Home has managed to stay in the top five in the domestic rankings since the film premiered in December.

The Disney and 20th Century crime thriller Death on the Nile grossed $2.6 million between Friday and Sunday. After four weekends on the big screen, the film has grossed a mediocre $37 million in North America. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, who stars in the film alongside Armie Hammer, Gal Gadot and Letitia Wright, Death on the Nile cost $90 million to produce.

https://www.oann.com/box-office-the-batman-scores-128-million-second-biggest-pandemic-debut/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=box-office-the-batman-scores-128-million-second-biggest-pandemic-debut Box office: ‘The Batman’ hits $128 million, second-biggest pandemic debut

Dais Johnston

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