‘The Batman’ Soars With A Blockbuster $128.5 Million Debut
That strange sound you may have heard over the weekend? Turns out it was all the sighs of relief coming from the Warner Bros. lot in Los Angeles. The studio scored a massive victory as the latest reboot of its beloved caped-crusader franchise, The Batman, bowed to a record-setting $128.5 million at the North American box office. Despite a three-hour running time, yet another new face underneath the cape and cowl, and a darker, moodier tone, the inaugural outing of Robert Pattinson’s haunted Gotham avenger instantly took its place as the first official blockbuster of 2022—not to mention the new runner-up to Spider-Man: No Way Home and its $260.1 million as the second-biggest domestic opening of the pandemic era.

Unspooling in 4,417 theaters, it was obvious as early as Friday that The Batman would be the owner of the biggest box-office bow of 2022. Pre-weekend projections had it as the first movie of the year that would cross the $100 million threshold during its first frame. But its final tally of $128.5 million matched only the most bullish of predictions. Despite its lengthy running time, the PG-13-rated tentpole snagged an impressive $29,092 per-screen average and seemed to click with both ticket buyers (who rewarded it with an ‘A-‘ CinemaScore grade) and critics (who gave it an 85% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes)—a nice bounce-back from the recent Ben Affleck-as-Batman outings. As for who made up The Batman’s audience, more than 65% of the opening weekend crowd was male, and more than 60% fell between the ages of 18-34.

Perhaps another reason for The Batman’s boffo opening weekend was the fact that it was Warner Bros.’ first theatrical exclusive since Christopher Nolan’s Tenet back in September 2020—you had to leave the house and buy a ticket if you wanted to see it. Fans will not be able to watch the film on the HBO Max streaming service until it’s been on big screens for 45 days. Not surprisingly, the movie, which also stars Paul Dano as the Riddler, Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Colin Farrell as the Penguin, and Andy Serkis as Alfred, fared solidly overseas as well, taking in $120 million in 74 foreign territories, bringing its total first-week global cume to $248.5 million (IMAX screens accounted for $22.3 million of the film’s worldwide haul). It is scheduled to be released in the all-important Chinese marketplace on March 18. However, one territory where The Batman did not open was Russia. Warner Bros. pulled the film’s release there after the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Back at home, the movie should have an easy hold on the top spot for a few weeks…at least until the arrival of Paramount’s The Lost City, which stars Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, and opens on March 25.

Although The Batman dominated the box-office conversation over the weekend, believe it or not, it wasn’t the only movie in theaters. Finishing in the runner-up spot was Sony’s treasure-hunting adventure Uncharted. The PG-13-rated film starring Tom Holland racked up $11 million in its third frame—a drop-off of -52.2% from the previous weekend. Playing in 3,875 theaters, Uncharted scored a $2,838 per-screen average. Its total domestic tally inched past the $100 million marker and now stands at $100.3 million. The movie has fared even better overseas, piling on another $171.3 million so far, bringing its current global haul to $271.6 million. That number should be goosed even higher when the film is finally unveiled in China on March 14.

In third place, Channing Tatum’s Dog kept finding more box-office kibble to feast on, pulling in another $6 million in its third weekend—a dip of 40.6% from the previous frame. United Artists’ feel-good, PG-13-rated tale of an Army Ranger who travels cross-country with a military canine to attend the funeral of its former handler played at 3,507 locations and managed a $1,720 per-screen average. So far, Dog has dug up $40 million in North America and $4.9 million overseas (where it got a later start), putting its worldwide cume at $44.9 million.

In fourth was Spider-Man: No Way Home—a movie that has not seen what the world beyond the top five looks like since it debuted three months ago. Sony’s superhero smash earned $4.4 million over the weekend, a minor drop from the prior weekend of just -24.2%. In its twelfth week in multiplexes, the PG-13-rated Tom Holland-starrer earned a $1,624 per-screen average at 2,709 locations. The film’s domestic total is now $786.5 million. Internationally, No Way Home has piled up an eye-popping $1.08 billion so far, putting its worldwide cumulative haul at just under $1.87 billion.

Rounding out the top five was 20th Century Studios’ Death on the Nile with $2.7 million in its fourth weekend. The Kenneth Branagh follow-up to 2017’sMurder on the Orient Express fell -39.3% from the previous session and had a $1,063 per-screen average at 2,565 locations. The PG-13-rated whodunit, which also stars Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer and Annette Bening, has racked up $37.1 million in North America to date and an additional $68.4 million internationally, putting its four-week worldwide cume at $105.5 million.