Mar 7, 2022 - Technology

"The Batman" is 2022's first big blockbuster

Photo: Jonathan Olley/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP

Warner Bros.' "The Batman," became the second film in the pandemic era to cross $100 million in its domestic box office debut this weekend, giving the theater industry a much-needed boost of optimism early in the year.

Why it matters: "It's another brick in the foundation for movie theaters coming back," Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian told Axios.

Details: Comscore estimates the film brought in $128 million domestically over the weekend, and nearly $250 million worldwide.

  • It's release, the largest since the remarkable $260 million domestic opener of "Spider-Man: No Way Home" last December, "shows that super hero movies really have drawing power," Dergarabedian added.
  • Because March's movie slate isn't too packed, "The Batman" will have lots of runway to continue performing well for weeks to come.

Be smart: The better-than-expected weekend opener of "The Batman" is an extraordinary feat for Warner Bros., especially given the film's PG-13 rating.

  • "Spider-Man is a movie you can take the whole family to see, whereas Batman is definitely for diehard cinema fans," Dergarabedian said.
Data: The Numbers; Table: Will Chase/Axios

The big picture: Before the strong open of "The Batman," the only other movie to land big at the box office so far this year had been Sony's action hit "Uncharted," which banked $51 million in its domestic weekend opener last month.

  • Action and adventure films, especially superhero franchises, have become more popular at the box office in recent years, pushing studios to debut more dramas and comedies on streaming.

Yes, but: Action films tend to be expensive to produce, which is why horror movies have become a more profitable bet for studios in recent years.

What to watch: Success stories at the box office could push more studios to begin releasing films exclusively in theaters again.

  • Most studios experimented with shortened theatrical windows or same-day streaming debuts during pandemic lockdowns.
  • This year's movie slate includes may fan favorites, like new Marvel movies, "Top Gun: Maverick," and "Mission: Impossible 7.”

The bottom line: The Batman's big weekend "is really the start of the box office year, ostensibly," Dergarabedian said.

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