‘The Batman’ soars to second-biggest domestic box office debut of pandemic

Robert Pattinson in a Batman costume standing across from Zoë Kravitz in a leather costume
Robert Pattinson as Batman, left, and Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle in “The Batman.”
(Jonathan Olley / DC Comics)

Holy box office revenue, Batman.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ “The Batman” has scored the second-biggest North American opening of the COVID-19 pandemic, grossing $128.5 million domestically and $120 million internationally for a global cumulative of $248.5 million, according to estimates from measurement firm Comscore.

Since March 2020, only Sony Pictures’ “Spider-Man: No Way Home” — which launched at $260 million in December — has posted a bigger domestic debut than “The Batman.” Robert Pattinson’s inaugural outing as the Caped Crusader soared above its already lofty expectations, which projected the superhero flick would collect $100 million to $125 million across North American screens.

With ‘The Batman,’ director Matt Reeves and star Robert Pattinson set out to reinvent an iconic 80-year-old character — and throw a much-needed lifeline to the ailing movie business

Directed by Matt Reeves, the latest installment in the DC Comics franchise is also easily the most successful title of the pandemic for Warner Bros. — which, until now, had been releasing films simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max. In one weekend, “The Batman” has earned more money than the studio’s most lucrative hybrid release, “Dune,” did in its entire run.


It’s also worth noting that the world’s largest cinema chain, AMC Theatres, charged moviegoers extra to see “The Batman” this weekend compared with other titles playing in the same theaters at the same time. For example, an adult advance ticket for a Friday night showing of “The Batman” at the AMC Burbank 16 cost $19.49, while tickets for Sony’s “Uncharted” were priced at $17.99 apiece at the same location.

In addition to dominating the box office, “The Batman” generally fared well with critics, receiving a solid 85% rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. Even with a runtime of 2 hours and 56 minutes, the DC tentpole garnered an A-minus from audiences polled by CinemaScore.

With “The Batman,” director Matt Reeves has teed up yet another Bat-franchise. So where will it go from here?

Originally slated to open in June 2021, “The Batman” stars Pattinson as Bruce Wayne and Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle (a.k.a. Catwoman), on a dangerous mission to save Gotham City from a puzzling new threat. Rounding out the supporting cast are Jeffrey Wright as Lt. Gordon, Andy Serkis as Alfred, Colin Farrell as the Penguin and Paul Dano as the Riddler.

As of Sunday morning, “Twilight” alum Pattinson‘s first film as the Dark Knight boasts the fourth-biggest domestic opening of any “Batman” film. In first place is 2016’s “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice” ($166 million), followed by 2012’s “The Dark Knight Rises” ($160.9 million), 2008’s “The Dark Knight ($158.4 million), 2022’s “The Batman” ($128.5 million), 2017’s “Justice League” ($93.9 million), 1995’s “Batman Forever” ($52.8 million), 2005’s “Batman Begins” ($48.7 million), 1992’s “Batman Returns” ($45.7 million), 1997’s “Batman and Robin” ($42.9 million) and 1989’s “Batman” ($40.5 million).

AMC on Tuesday introduced the idea of variable ticket pricing for movies, an established practice in Europe.

Landing at No. 2 behind “The Batman” at the domestic office this weekend is Sony’s “Uncharted,” which added $11 million in its third weekend for a North American cumulative of $100.3 million. Completing the top five are United Artists Releasing’s “Dog,” which fetched $6 million in its third weekend for a North American cumulative of $40 million; “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which grossed $4.4 million in its 12th weekend for a North American cumulative of $786.5 million; and 20th Century Studios’ “Death on the Nile,” which drew $2.7 million in its fourth weekend for a North American cumulative of $37.1 million.

Next weekend, “The Batman” is all but guaranteed to extend its box-office reign as no films are scheduled to open in wide release.