Early Weekend Estimates: The Batman Scores Pandemic Second-Best $57M Domestic First Day, On Pace for Likely $125M+ Debut

Photo Credits: Warner Bros. ("The Batman")

Saturday Update: Warner Bros. and Matt Reeves’ The Batman opened to a $57 million first day take on the domestic front, the studio reports this morning. That figure includes all previously reported preview grosses of $21.6 million from Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

With a true Friday gross of $35.4 million, all eyes now shift to how the weekend shakes out. As a long film with a matinee-friendly audience (and run time) as well as positive reception, signs remain very encouraging, but projections are still dependent on how much immediate word of mouth has an impact on casual moviegoers who may have been on the fence about another new Batman movie — particularly one that plays quite grimly.

The studio reports a predominately 25-35 male audience during initial shows, skewing 65 percent men, 69 percent over the age of 25, and 69 percent under the age of 35. Additionally, 22 percent were age 18-24.

Those breakdowns are near-identical to Joker, which drew 64 percent male, 68 percent over 25, and 66 percent under 35 in its October 2019 debut. Similarly, Logan drew 63 percent male and 68 percent over 25 on this same weekend five years ago.

For opening day comps, The Batman is easily the second best of the pandemic following Spider-Man: No Way Home‘s $121.96 million and topping Venom: Let There Be Carnage‘s $37.4 million. It’s also the fifth largest opening day in the history of all March releases, trailing only 2017’s Beauty and the Beast ($63.78 million), Batman v Superman ($81.56 million), Captain Marvel ($61.72 million), and The Hunger Games ($67.26 million).

Elsewhere, Reeves’ reboot topped Joker ($39.35 million), Justice League ($38.47 million), Wonder Woman ($38.25 million), Logan ($33.0 million), and Man of Steel ($44.0 million, or $56.0 million when including special Thursday previews that weren’t factored in at the time).

As weekend projections go, our models remain generally within previously forecasted ranges, though leaning toward the conservative end. Given their adult-centric themes and audiences, Joker and Logan remain strong comparison points. The former increased 24.67 percent on Saturday from its true Friday gross, while the latter jumped 33.26 percent.

Should The Batman land closer to Joker‘s trajectory, a weekend between $130 million and $136 million would occur. A Logan-like play would net near $140 million. Conversely, though, those are still pre-pandemic examples, so expectations should be tempered at least to some slight extent.

More updates to follow throughout the weekend.

Friday Report: Warner Bros. reports this morning that The Batman earned $21.6 million from all domestic previews entering Friday.

That includes IMAX fan event screenings on Tuesday, AMC Investor Connect and some miscellaneous other shows on Wednesday, followed by traditional previews at an estimated 3,300 locations on Thursday.

While the studio is not officially confirming any daily break down, unconfirmed sources report that an estimated $2 million came from each of Tuesday and Wednesday’s screenings. That would translate to a true Thursday haul of $17.6 million.

By comparison, Joker — the most recent DC film exclusive to theaters — earned $13.3 million from Thursday-only shows in October 2019. Justice League posted a similar $13 million in November 2017, while Wonder Woman grossed $11 million in June 2017.

Outside the DC universe, the most natural comparisons will be Marvel titles, although it was worth continuing to note that the fan base and audience patterns don’t always align along the same forecasting models. That being said, Eternals earned $9.5 million last November and Black Widow posted $13.2 million a few months before.

As spring releases go, Logan bowed to $9.5 million on this same weekend in 2017. One year prior, Batman v Superman grossed $27.7 million the night before Good Friday.

What does all of this mean? That remains to be seen, but the combined Tuesday-through-Thursday gross is 17.4 percent ahead of our target baked into pinpoint forecasts, and 4 percent above the high end of our best/worst case range.

Initial word of mouth is quite strong, and with no holiday inflating in play, there’s little reason to compare The Batman‘s trajectory to either Justice League or BvS. The similarly adult-themed Joker and Logan may be the most appropriate at the moment, although those films carried R ratings versus this one’s PG-13.

Using those latter two films as models results in wildly different scenarios: a Joker-like multiplier would lead to roughly $131 million for the weekend (with Tuesday and Wednesday lopped into Thursday’s figure), while a Logan comp leads to $168 million. The Batman should, in theory, be less front-loaded than either of them having burnt off some fan demand before Thursday.

As noted in final forecasts, The Batman‘s run time, potential lean on older viewers, and challenge of following up two poorly received Batman films after the iconic run of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy are the primary challenges upfront. Still, signs remain very encouraging with hopes of a young audience turning out for the next era of Batman with Robert Pattinson and director Matt Reeves at the helm.

Photo Credits: Warner Bros. ("The Batman")