The 2022 box office has its first juggernaut. After years of promotion and more than few delays due to COVID-19, “The Batman” finally hit movie theaters this weekend. The Warner Bros. release grossed a hefty $57 million from 4,417 locations in its opening day, though that’s a sum that includes $21.6 million from Thursday preview screenings.
The DC adaptation is tracking to open somewhere between $120 million and $130 million for the weekend. With more than $50 million already in the bank, “The Batman” is already the biggest opening weekend of 2022, with Sony’s “Uncharted” standing at a distant second with a $44 million three-day debut. It’s yet another demonstration that superhero appointment viewing is in a league of its own for moviegoers.
Compared to the franchise’s recent history, that figure would fall short of the opening weekend totals for Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” ($158 million) and “The Dark Knight Rises” ($160 million), as well as that of Zack Snyder’s crossover showdown “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” ($166 million). However, “The Batman” is not a sequel like those films; instead, it’s a whole cloth reboot of the property, with a new cast, a new mood and a new story. Nolan’s reboot, “Batman Begins,” opened to $48 million in 2005 — a number that “The Batman” is more than doubling.
Big-budget spectacles (and comic book adaptations, especially) can tend to be front-loaded in their box office hauls and “The Batman” should be no exception. More than a third of its opening day grosses were earned through Thursday night previews. However, Warner Bros. hopes the DC adaptation will have longer staying power thanks to its positive reception.
The dark take on the superhero has earned very positive reviews, with Variety‘s Peter Debruge naming it a critic’s pick and writing that the “grounded, frequently brutal and nearly three-hour film noir registers among the best of the genre, even if — or more aptly, because — what makes the film so great is its willingness to dismantle and interrogate the very concept of superheroes.” Audiences are also being extremely receptive, with the film scoring an “A-” CinemaScore, indicating strong approval from general ticket buyers.
“The Batman” sees Robert Pattinson as the seventh actor to don the cowl of the Caped Crusader in a live-action movie. The film also stars Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as the Riddler, Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth and Colin Farrell as the Penguin. Directed by Matt Reeves, the production proved to be a prolonged one due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a production budget ballooning past $200 million. “The Batman” will have to draw large numbers from both domestic and international audiences to become the start of another franchise for Warner Bros.
Other studios cleared out of Warner Bros.’ way this weekend, as the box office saw no other new wide releases. The remainder of the domestic box office’s top five was composed of a collection of holdovers.
Sony’s video game adaptation “Uncharted” looks to take the runner-up slot with a $12.4 million gross in its third weekend. The Tom Holland vehicle should clear a $100 million domestic gross after Sunday, an achievement that will only be shared by “The Batman” when drawing from 2022 releases.
MGM’s canine road movie “Dog” continues to do solid business. The Channing Tatum vehicle added $1.6 million to its haul on Friday, a lean 35% drop from a week ago. The film should expand its domestic gross to $40 million through the weekend — a finish above $50 million looks to be in the cards. That’s a marked victory for a star-driven drama budgeted at $15 million.
Even with competition in the superhero department, Sony’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is still sticking around the box office’s top five nearly three months after its debut. The MCU monster looks to take in $4.7 million in its twelfth weekend, a measly 18% drop from its previous outing. “No Way Home’s” domestic gross will stand at a colossal $786 million after Sunday as the film crawls to a potential finish above $800 million.
Disney and 20th Century Studios’ “Death on the Nile” should round out the top five with a projected three-day haul of $2.85 million. After an underwhelming domestic opening of $12.8 million, Kenneth Branagh’s whodunnit has enjoyed some somewhat merciful holds. The release now eyes a finish above $40 million. That’s a ways away from its reported $90 million production budget, though international grosses will buoy “Death on the Nile” even further.