That would be one of the best openings for the series, but strong buzz and the character’s historical success at the ticket booth could propel the Warner Bros. film even higher. It brought in $21.6 million for its preview showings. (Warner Bros., like CNN, is a unit of WarnerMedia.)
But will the lingering effects of the pandemic and a nearly three hour run time keep “The Batman” from saving theaters?
The theater industry’s dark knight
“The Batman” could change that this weekend.
The moody superhero has starred in a prolific and eclectic number of movies from Academy-Award winning films (2008’s “The Dark Knight”), crossovers with other DC heroes (2016’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”), animated films (1993’s “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm”), animated films made out of LEGOs (2017’s “The LEGO Batman Movie”) and even one of the worst films of all time (1997’s “Batman & Robin”).
“Batman is one of the most beloved and revered characters in all of filmdom,” Dergarabedian said.
He added that Christopher Nolan’s take on “Batman” over three films from 2005 to 2012 reinvigorated the franchise, turning the iconic crime fighter from a “camp classic hero to serious cinematic character.”
That serious tone for the Batman universe continues this weekend with a film that’s not just garnering the attention of audiences, but critics as well.
A ‘176-minute latex procedural’
That type of description could pique the interest of audiences looking for something fresh from their superhero fare. However, the film’s violent tone could also alienate families looking to take their young children to the latest Batman flick.
Another issue that could keep the film from reaching the box office heights of other superhero movies is that “The Batman” clocks in at two hour and 56 minutes.
That lengthy run time will likely cut down on how many screenings the film could get this weekend, and keep away audiences who don’t want to spend that much time in Gotham City.
Yet long run time and grim tone notwithstanding, it’s likely that Batman will follow in Spider-Man’s footsteps and bring in the type of blockbuster opening numbers that could set off a much-needed revitalizing year for the theater industry.
“It’s interesting that a spider and a bat would be the saviors of theaters,” Dergarabedian said. “But ‘The Batman’s’ expected success will create an excitement and momentum that should carry forward and boost the other blockbusters that are on the calendar for the rest of the year.”