The theatrical box office is still a very strange place. After more than a year of it essentially not existing, the numbers are being tracked once again, but they still look very different than they once did. With the exception of outlier Spider-Man: No Way Home, all box office numbers are being looked at through a pandemic lens, comparing current releases only to each other and not to films that came out earlier, but from that perspective The Batman is seeing solid returns, as it’s already surpassed the total box office take of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, making it the second highest grossing movie since the pandemic began.
Shang-Chi ended 2021 as the second highest grossing domestic movie of the year. It was number one until December when Spider-Man: No Way Home came along. It grossed $224 million in North America, but after two weekends, The Batman has now brought in $245 million according to Forbes. With no major theatrical releases set for this coming weekend The Batman will almost certainly continue its role.
The Batman has brought in almost as much internationally as it has domestically, and so the film is nearing the $500 million mark globally, which is a solid return at any time, especially when we’re still feeling the effects of the pandemic when it comes to people returning to theatres.
The Batman’s box office success may be due to it being a Batman movie, the one DC property that is virtually guaranteed to be successful, or it could be more due to the fact that the pandemic situation has changed drastically since Shang-Chi was in theaters. Both were almost certainly factors, but it will be interesting to see just how weighted each side of the equation has been.
We could see other comic book movies coming out later this year, like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness or Black Adam out do The Batman simply by virtue of coming out later in the year as more people become more comfortable with going to the theatre again. We could see box office receipts slowly returning to a point where all movies have numbers that look more like they once did. Alternatively, The Batman could spend all year as the highest grossing movie if people are just less interested in seeing other movies.
The Batman’s box office is certainly enough of a result, or will be once it's done, to solidify the sequel that the current movie teased. No official announcement of another movie has been made yet, but it seems to be a foregone conclusion. The question isn’t if that movie is coming, but when. One certainly assumes that Warner Bros. will want to get all the major players locked down soon.
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