Saturday, December 3, 2022

Box Office: ‘The Batman’ Tops ‘Batman Begins’ And Nears $400 Million Worldwide

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Zoe Kravitz and Robert Pattinson in ‘The Batman’

Warner Bros.

In June of 2005, Chris Nolan’s well-reviewed and well-received Batman Begins opened with a halfway decent, but not superlative, $48 million over the Fri-Sun portion of a $73 million Wed-Sun debut. Sure, that was bigger than the Fri-Wed gross of Batman Forever, previously the biggest “first six days” gross for a Batman movie (following a then-record $53 million Fri-Sun debut), but it was slightly under optimistic expectations. After all, Batman had redefined the Hollywood landscape and had existed as essentially the “Can’t get this anywhere else!” blockbuster franchise of the 1990’s, akin to James Bond in the 1960’s and 1970’s and Star Wars in the 1980s.

However, the film had buzz and strong word-of-mouth, earning another $28 million in late June of that summer, a mere 43% drop. It would leg out to $205 million that summer, good enough (with $371 million worldwide on a $150 million budget) to justify what would become The Dark Knight. The Batman earned $18.7 million on its second Friday of release, dropping 67% from its preview-inflated $57 million Friday gross. Captain Marvel earned 3.5x its $19 million second-Friday gross (after a $62 million opening day) for a $68 million second weekend gross. An identical multiplier would give The Batman a whopping $66 million in weekend two, a drop of just 51%.

So, if this works out, The Batman will have held almost as well as Batman Begins despite a far more frontloaded moviegoing environment, the promise of a shorter theatrical window and a Fri-Sun opening of $134 million. First, its Friday gross is almost tied with the $19.7 million day-eight earnings of Spider-Man: No Way Home (-83% from a $121 million opening day) and is almost on par with the 62% second Friday drop of Black Panther. The Dark Knight opened with $158 million in 2008 and grossed $75 million on weekend two. The Batman may come close. Simply put, even with no major movies in the marketplace, this is an exceptionally good hold.

A 51% drop will be in line with Iron Man (-50% from a $102 million debut), The Avengers (-50% after a $207 million launch) and The Dark Knight (-53% after a $158 million debut). Offhand, a $66 million second weekend gross would be above every Covid-era opening weekend save for Spider-Man: No Way Home ($260 million), Venom: Let There Be Carnage ($90 million), Shang-Chi ($75 million Fri-Mon/$94 million Fri-Mon), F9 ($70 million) and Eternals ($70 million). With $191 million domestic and around $372 million worldwide, The Batman should pass $200 million domestic and $400 million worldwide sometime today as it races toward $235 million domestic and over/under $470 million worldwide by tomorrow night.

The good reviews, strong buzz and mostly positive media conversations are catching those who wish to see it again and those who might have been on the fence. The industry can’t survive on one mega-tentpole a month and a gun-shy Hollywood is frankly refusing to offer up a full slate. A lack of varied product is currently more problematic to theaters than Covid. April, I’d wager the strong legs imply that at least some older moviegoers want to go back and that The Batman is closer to their speed than Uncharted or Scream. Disney’s decision to send Turning Red to Disney+ looks more and more like sacrificing a touchdown by scoring a field goal.

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