Speed Reads

the dark knight rises — again

The Batman scores 2nd-biggest opening weekend since the pandemic began

Robert Pattinson's Batman is the hero DC — and the 2022 box office — needed. 

The Batman, the first solo movie about the titular hero in a decade, grossed $128.5 million at the domestic box office this weekend. That's the second biggest opening for any film since the COVID-19 pandemic began behind Spider-Man: No Way Home's $260 million

It was a lower opening than the past few Batman films, as 2008's The Dark Knight opened to $158 million, 2012's The Dark Knight Rises opened to $160 million, and 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opened to $166 million. But those were all sequels, so The Batman's debut was quite strong for the first in a new series, especially considering its dark tone and three hour runtime. 

It's also a bit of a comeback for the character after the last movie DC released in theaters featuring Batman, 2017's Justice League, was an infamous disaster, opening with a disappointing $93 million. Ben Affleck played Batman in that series, but some critics felt these films suffered because DC was rushing to build a cinematic universe to compete with Marvel, diving right into crossover events like Batman v Superman rather than giving its characters standalone movies first. 

Since then, DC has eased up on trying to build a highly-connected cinematic universe, allowing some filmmakers to make standalone movies that aren't even canon to the DC Extended Universe, as with the box office hit Joker. That's also true of The Batman, which takes place in a separate continuity to the Affleck movies, even though Affleck is still returning as Batman in The Flash this year. The strategy seems to be paying off, and The Batman received great reviews. 

Now, a sequel looks inevitable, and HBO Max spinoffs are already in the works. For Warner Bros. and DC, Justice League may have been a disappointment, but in the words of Harvey Dent, the night is darkest just before the dawn.