The Box Office turns on the Bat-signal and The Batman dutifully answers, and Other Box Office News.
Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).
Well, my big ol’ analytical insight from back in January that the Box Office had actually returned to pre-COVID normalcy – a state which was never as foundationally healthy as everyone claims, for the record – seems to have been right on the money. After multiple slow weeks of not a lot happening, mainly because nobody released anything interesting, and lots of doomsaying worries over whether audiences might be having second thoughts over that whole “getting their arses back into cinemas to watch movies” thing, a superhero movie has come along to save the day yet again! Specifically, the #2 superhero in the world, Batman. And, yes, moany fanboys looking for a fight, I can definitively state that Batman is only #2 because The Batman failed to beat out the opening weekend of Spider-Man: No Way Home. IT’S JUST SCIENCE! DEAL WITH IT!
Anyways, jokes-but-not-really aside, The Batman is a runaway success. Only the second film since December of 2019 to cross $100 million opening weekend, topping out at a massively impressive $128.5 million which would’ve shook buildings even in non-pandemic times. Let’s get a little nerdy about it whilst we’re here. This is just over 2.5x the amount that the last major Batman reboot opened to, Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins from 2005 with $48.7 mil – equivalent to $70 mil when adjusted for inflation. And I know what you’re thinking. “Callie, isn’t Batman v Superman the last major Batman reboot? How’d it do compared to that?” Firstly, no it wasn’t, it was an unfocussed and terrible Man of Steel sequel with Batman as the deuteragonist. Secondly, glad you asked! Answer: closer than you might’ve expected! Dawn of Justice opened to $166 million in 2016 but was infamously Friday-loaded, falling a fair bit on the Saturday (38%) and Sunday (31%), whereas The Batman held strong across the rest of the weekend with daily dips of just 24% indicating a word-of-mouth worthy of that “A-” Cinemascore.
So, no, the Pat-man couldn’t surpass Batman v Superman nor any of the Nolan sequels – Dark Knight Rises having opened to $160 million in 2012 and The Dark Knight famously demolishing records in 2008 with $158 million. However, those Nolan sequels were, natch, sequels that were building off the goodwill of that first go-around, whilst BvS had the cheat codes of Batman AND Superman AND the theatrical debut of Wonder Woman AND a longingly lingered shot of a jar filled with Jesse Eisenberg’s piss. To be in the same parking lot as those big boys with no wider DC cheat codes, a three-hour runtime, a grimly serious tone and (let’s charitably say) measured pacing, whilst a pandemic and other global anxieties keep chuntering along in the background… It’s all pretty good. Maybe there’s something to releasing big cinema-benefitting blockbusters exclusively to cinemas after all! Or maybe it’s because scumfuck theatre CEOs are artificially raising the prices on certain films cos they can get away with it. Could also be that.
I am vengeance. This Full List is vengeance. These two cats who won’t shut up and let me work are vengeance.
US Box Office Results: Friday 4th March 2022 – Sunday 6th March 2022
1] The Batman
$128,500,000 / NEW
It’s… fine. I thought it was just okay. More power to you if, like Dave Bond here or Kelechi Ehenulo over at JumpCut, you got something more than “it’s fine” out of it. I’m genuinely happy for you. At least until two weeks from now when the ceaseless DISCOURSE causes my feelings to curdle to irritable spite over nobody shutting the fuck up about the film. Like with Joker except for an actually good movie.
$11,000,000 / $100,276,384
I will say, though, that Matt Reeves’ decision to make “Ave Maria” the leitmotif of Riddler, and to open the film with him spying through a scope on his target from across the street, just made me think about Hitman every time it cut to Riddler doing his murder thing. Looking at his murders going “well there goes the ‘No Evidence’ bonus and you missed out on that prime accident kill opportunity, buddy, and that remote bomb is gonna cost you the ‘Silent Assassin’ ranking…”
Anyways, Paul Dano’s performance is comparable to Eddie Redmayne’s in Jupiter Ascending and that’s my actual Hot Take.
$6,034,481 / $40,007,274
Gonna level with you folks, The Batman was the first time I went to the cinema since three Saturdays ago. I still haven’t seen 60% of the films on the list, and I’m all out of content for 30% of the ones I have seen. But this is the last time for a little while that we’re gonna be in this situation together, you and me, as I’ll be in the middle of a few long overdue catch-up days by the time you read this. So, hopefully, I’ll have relevant and/or entertaining things to say from next week onwards. At least until the next time nothing particularly urgent comes around to stop me spending 10 hours on Hitman.
4] Spider-Man: No Way Home
$4,400,000 / $786,488,223
Are we sure this isn’t called Cockroach-Man: No Way Home? Because seemingly nothing can kill it! *rimshot, stone silence*
5] Death on the Nile
$2,727,000 / $37,094,747
Despite bricking with both critics and fans, the president of 20th Century Studios seems optimistic that we’re going to get more Brana-irot in the near-future. It’s nice to have dreams.
6] Sing 2
$1,520,000 / $153,568,760
Programming reminder that nothing new is releasing Wide next weekend because Disney panicked in mid-January and pulled Pixar’s Turning Red from cinemas for a straight-out-Disney+ dumping, a move which keeps looking more and more foolish with each passing day. Then again, looking foolish seems to be Bob Chapek’s preferred state of being given his amazingly dumbass ‘both sides’ response to Florida’s homophobic Parental Rights in Education bill.
$1,360,000 / $54,452,006
On a semi-related note, an evergreen clip.
$683,607 / $2,575,557
Ed Sheeran claims that he’s written 25 songs with Aaron Dessner, which might be the single most terrifying sentence I’ve typed these past two years.
9] Gangubai Kathiawadi
$592,000 / NEW
With The Batman hoovering up all the conversation, let’s not allow a notable indie to slip by unexamined! Kogonada, noted video essayist and writer-director of the criminally-underseen Columbus, finally got his sophomore feature, sci-fi adoption drama After Yang, released this past weekend in 24 theatres! Alas, though, it seems arthouse audiences looking for a new release Colin Farrell fix chose the one where he’s buried under layers of charmingly-goofy prosthetics and Kogonada’s film was left behind with just $46,872; a PTA of $1,953.
$570,000 / $80,225,807
Finally plucked up and saw the teaser for Men. Yep, gimme that now please.
Dropped out: Marry Me, Studio 666