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May 26, 2022
Box Office: ‘The Batman’ Passes ‘Shang-Chi’ With $463 Million Worldwide Cume
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Box Office: ‘The Batman’ Passes ‘Shang-Chi’ With $463 Million Worldwide Cume

Robert Pattinson in ‘The Batman’

Warner Bros.

The Batman soared to the top for the second weekend (of what will be at least a three-weekend reign) in a row. The Matt Reeves-directed and Peter Craig-penned DC actioner earned a devilish $66 million in weekend two (I’m guessing the Monday morning final grosses will be bigger) to bring its ten-day domestic cume to $238.5 million. In terms of Covid-era box office, The Batman’s second weekend is essentially tied with the $70 million *opening* weekends of Eternals and F9. It’s (obviously) the second-biggest non-opening weekend gross behind Spider-Man: No Way Home’s $84 million weekend-two gross. It’s already past Shang-Chi ($225 million after a $75 million Fri-Sun/$94 million Fri-Mon Labor Day launch) to be the second-biggest Covid-era (or, really, 2020-2022) Hollywood release save for Spider-Man: No Way Home ($792 million).

Spider-Man: 3 version 2.0 dropped a hearty 67% (partially due to Christmas Eve falling on a Friday) from a ridiculous $260 million debut, although it leveled out soon after. The Batman dropped 51% from a $134 million debut, a hold closer to the 43%-50% second-weekend drops of Batman Begins, Wonder Woman, Black Panther and Iron Man. The Batman is the only “big” movie of note in theaters right now, but that’s still a terrific hold. Concerns about the 175-minute runtime and its “too dark for kids” tone seem to be irrelevant. Strong reviews, solid buzz and mostly positive post-debut media coverage (I have yet to see a single “What The Batman gets wrong about men, bats” article) has rendered the Robert Pattinson/Zoe Kravitz flick more than just another Batman movie.

The Batman is clearly not playing like another Man of Steel. That divisive (although unquestionably ambitious) Superman reboot dropped 67% from a $128 million debut and clocked out at $291 million domestic. The Batman should be past that by Sunday night, potentially zooming past the $300 million mark on day 17. If it continues to play like Alice on Wonderland, Oz: The Great and Powerful, Logan and Captain Marvel (to name three semi-recent first-weekend-of-March tentpoles), The Batman will end with $350-$390 million domestic, second only to Wonder Woman ($412.5 million) among non-Nolan DC flicks. $400 million domestic is possible but not guaranteed and certainly not the bar for success. I mean, with everything going right, even Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ended with “just” $390 million domestic in summer 2017.

Godzilla Vs. Kong

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture

The Batman continued to play like a Batman movie overseas, namely in achieving a 50/50 split. It earned $66.6 million outside of North America, bringing its foreign total to $224.7 million. That gives it a $463 million worldwide cume, meaning it’ll top Godzilla Vs. Kong ($468 million in 2021) tomorrow or Tuesday to be Warner Bros.’ biggest global grosser since Joker ($1.073 billion in late 2019) and their second-biggest global grosser since Aquaman ($1.148 billion in late 2018). Joker didn’t play in China, while Aquaman earned $298 million and Godzilla Vs. Kong grossed $188 million. Hollywood flicks have been inconsistent (at best) in China since 2018, with a handful of Matrix Resurrections ($14 million) for every Free Guy ($95 million). We’ll see where The Batman falls when it opens there on Friday.

The Batman is now past Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings ($430 million) to be the sixth-biggest Covid-era Hollywood earner, behind Godzilla Vs. Kong ($468 million), Venom: Let There Be Carnage ($505 million), F9 ($721 million), No Time to Die ($774 million) and Spider-Man: No Way Home ($1.86 billion). Barring an unlikely crash after today, it’s almost certain to end up behind only the James Bond flick and the Spider-Man sequel, although it could absolutely end up passing the 007 movie if it pulls its weight in China starting this Friday. Yes, F9 earned $205 million in China, but honestly in this environment I’d be impressed with the over/under $65 million totals of Tenet and No Time to Die. Of course, The Batman is smash with or without China.

If you’ll allow me some spitball math, The Batman is looking at a possible $730 million global cume not yet counting China. Yes, even a halfway decent run in China (solo Marvel/DC flicks tended to pull $90-$125 million prior to Covid) should push the film over $800 million worldwide. Once again, $1 billion is not the goal nor the bar for success for this $185 million franchise-starter. Simply put, the 2-D, stand-alone superhero franchise starter is playing like a pre-Avatar, pre-Avengers superhero franchise starter, adjusted for overseas expansion and inflation of course. Once it passes Man of Steel domestically, it’ll be the biggest-grossing clean slate reboot ever in North America. If it passes Spider-Man: Homecoming ($881 million in 2017, with an assist from Iron Man), it’ll be the biggest such thing worldwide too.

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