Weekend Box Office (March 4 - 6, 2022)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Keeping with pandemic-era norms, another super hero movie launched to fantastic numbers utterly dominating the box office as this time it was DC coming back with The Batman which kicked off a powerful launch with an estimated $128.5M debut. That was the second biggest opening weekend for any movie since 2019 trailing just Spider Man: No Way Home which scored a colossal $260M last December. Nobody expected this one to come close to that smash.

It was a pivotal opening for Warner Bros. which spent the past year releasing all its films simultaneously in theaters and also at home on HBO Max thereby lessening the grosses in exchange for a push for more streaming subscribers. The Batman scored the best opening for the studio since 2016's Suicide Squad which bowed to $133.7M and easily surged ahead of other DC films like Wonder Woman, Joker, and Aquaman.

This new PG-13 actioner featured Robert Pattinson playing the Caped Crusader for the first time with Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) at the helm. After many pandemic-related delays, the three-hour film finally hit cinemas and the fan anticipation was red hot. Pre-shows amounted to $21.6M and included special Tuesday and Wednesday night premium format shows in addition to the Thursday night ones. That was all rolled into the full Friday gross of $57.1M with Saturday falling 24% to $43.2M. Sunday is estimated to drop 35% to $28.2M, but that may end up being conservative given the good buzz on the film and repeat business from hard-core fans. A Sunday decline of 25-30% would actually lead to a final opening weekend take of $130-133M so we'll have to wait to see how moviegoers behave on the final day of the weekend.

Warners gave a formidable push to The Batman, one which lasted for months. Special attention was given to Zoe Kravitz and her Catwoman character to help spark more female appeal to a genre that is typically male-skewing. Given that this was an event movie, fans spent $38M on seeing it on premium screens with $15M coming from IMAX (12% of the total gross from 405 screens) and $23M from all other premium format screens. That's a large 30% of the box office gross coming from those willing to pay more for the best big-screen experience. The pandemic has certainly split the divide even wider with people choosing streaming more often for smaller films and theaters for large-scale event movies with visual dazzle.

Vengeance arrived in 4,417 locations (a new pandemic record) and the blockbuster averaged a sturdy $29,092 per site. The opening day audience breakdown for the pic was 65% male and 60% in the 18-34 age bracket. Other films picked up crumbs as Bruce Wayne and pals accounted for a whopping 80% of all weekend box office sales.

Moviegoers liked what they saw. Reviews were solid, the Rotten Tomatoes audience score is a high 90%, PostTrak was 4.5 out of 5 stars, and the CinemaScore came in at A-. Rival studios did not want to be steamrolled by this Batman so they've barely programmed anything major for the rest of the whole month. Plus with pandemic restrictions loosening as the Omicron wave goes down, and spring break holidays coming up, people will be going out more. Comic book movies tend to be frontloaded, but with strong buzz and barely any competition over the next couple of weeks, this Gotham City detective has a bright road ahead as it tries to surpass $350M and maybe even $400M. The Batman stands every chance of finishing its domestic run ahead of comic book movies like Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, Aquaman, Joker, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, and both Deadpool movies.

The last time we had a new director and cast debuting in a solo Batman movie was 2005 when Christian Bale stepped into Batman Begins which opened to $72.9M over five days. The $128.5M launch of The Batman over 3+ days flew much higher. Even looking at tickets sold, Begins attracted about 11.4M people over five days while The Batman pulled in around 13.5M over its three days plus pre-shows. It was a very large turnout.

And the year is just getting started for Warner Bros. and DC. Later in 2022 they roll out Black Adam (July 29), The Flash (November 4), and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (December 16) as they try to keep up with Marvel's pace of three to four films per year.

Warners rolled out The Batman in most of the world this weekend and collected a stellar $248.5M including $120M from 74 international markets. Leading the way were the UK with $18.4M, Mexico's $12M, Australia's $9.2M, Brazil's $8.8M, and France's $8.5M. There are still two major markets to come this month - Japan on March 11 and China on March 18. Finishing north of $800M worldwide seems likely and hitting the billion dollar mark can't be ruled out at this time.

After its two-week reign atop the box office charts, Sony's adventure hit Uncharted settled for the Robin position at number two this weekend with an estimated $11M falling by 52% and breaking the century mark in day 17. New totals stand at $100.3M domestic, $171.3M international, and $271.6M global with the $300M mark set to fall next week. The Tom Holland film opens in China on March 14.

Channing Tatum followed in third with the third weekend of his new film Dog which took in an estimated $6M, off 41%, for a cume of $40M. The UA release is among the top-grossing comedies during this two-year pandemic.

Mega-smash Spider-Man: No Way Home fell to fourth place in its twelfth weekend of play grossing an estimated $4.4M. Down only 24%, the Sony giant fared very well despite a new super hero entering the party. Repeat business has been solid in recent weeks helping it to sustain strong legs. The domestic haul now stands at an eye-popping $786.5M (number three all-time) and the overseas gross rose to $1.08 billion for a new worldwide total of an incredible $1.87 billion - and that's with no China release!

The Kenneth Branagh mystery Death on the Nile dropped a reasonable 39% in its fourth weekend to an estimated $2.7M giving Disney $37.1M to date from North America. Overseas markets have kicked in $78M for a new global total of $115.1M. The pandemic era run has not come close to the $353M worldwide take of its predecessor, Murder on the Orient Express.

Enjoying a prolonged successful run was the animated comedy Sing 2 which slipped 32% in its eleventh round to an estimated $1.5M. The Universal sequel has banked $153.6M domestically, $206.7M internationally, and an impressive $360.2M around the world. The studio and Illumination return this summer with Minions 2: The Rise of Gru opening on July 1.

Paramount saw Jackass Forever take a hit from the Caped Crusader as the male-skewing sequel fell 57% to an estimated $1.4M in its fifth frame for a solid $54.5M cume. The acclaimed romance Cyrano followed with an estimated $683,000, off 51%, for a total of only $2.6M for UA.

Horror hit Scream dropped 58% to an estimated $570,000 in its eighth weekend but has given Paramount a nice $80.2M domestic cume more than doubling the $38.2M of the last installment Scream 4. The slasher re-quel has banked about $59M overseas for a sturdy worldwide gross of $139M. The Bollywood film Gangubai Kathiawadi rounded out the top ten with an estimated $560,000, down 50% in its second weekend, for $2.2M to date for Zee Studios.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $157.3M which was substantially bigger than the $23M from one year ago when Raya and the Last Dragon opened in a much tougher pandemic environment. But this weekend's figure was up a healthy 74% from 2020 when Onward debuted in the top spot with $39.1M on the eve of nationwide theaters shutting down.

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Last Updated: March 6, 2022 at 3:20PM ET

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