The Batman Soars With $22 Million In Thursday Box Office Previews

"The Batman" made its heroic debut in theaters last night after years of pent-up anticipation over the latest big-screen incarnation of the Caped Crusader. It did not disappoint. Director Matt Reeves' DC Comics adaptation got off to an amazing start, pulling in nearly $22 million in Thursday previews, which puts it on course for a gigantic opening weekend at the domestic box office.

According to Forbes, "The Batman" raked in $21.6 million as fans flocked out to theaters to catch early screenings of Robert Pattinson's debut as the classic DC superhero. That will ultimately be added to the Friday total but this puts the movie well on its way to an opening weekend of well over $100 million. Amazingly enough, this will be the first Warner Bros. movie to pull that off since "It" shattered expectations back in September of 2017. That is downright hard to believe but it is indeed the case. Beyond that, it will probably be the second-largest opening of the pandemic era behind only "Spider-Man: No Way Home." Superheroes to the rescue again.

For a little context, "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" earned $27.7 million in previews back in 2016 on its way to a $166 million opening weekend, still the best for any movie with "Batman" in the title. The key difference here is that critics and audiences, thus far, absolutely love "The Batman" and that was not the case for "BvS," which suffered a huge plunge in its second weekend. With virtually no competition for three weeks (which is problematic for the industry at large), it stands to reason that the second-weekend drop will not be nearly as bad, benefiting Battinson's first go-around as the Dark Knight. We should be looking at an opening between $140 and $160 million come Monday, but word of mouth could do wonders for this one.

A new Bat-franchise

This is precisely the home run that Warner Bros. was looking for when they hired Reeves to direct this movie way back in 2017 after Ben Affleck decided to step down. Not only does the film figure to make a killing in its opening, but it has been widely embraced by critics and audiences alike, and offers a new sprawling version of Gotham City to explore as its own little corner of the DC universe. They've already got two HBO Max shows in the works and we are very likely going to hear word of a sequel officially getting the green light any day now. All things considered, this went about as well as anyone at the studio could have imagined, especially considering that the production had to contend with a global pandemic.

Paul Danno (Riddler), Zoe Kravitz (Catwoman), Jeffrey Wright (Jim Gordon), Colin Farrell (Penguin), John Turturro (Carmine Falcone), Andy Serkis (Alfred Pennyworth), Jayme Lawson (Bella Real), and Peter Sarsgaard (Gil Golson) round out the cast.

"The Batman" is in theaters now.