Warner Announces ‘The Batman’ Sequel At CinemaCon
At home and in theaters, the Dark Knight has been crowned king. Matt Reeves’ superhero franchise reboot The Batman dominated HBO Max in its first week on streaming, even as Robert Pattinson’s turn as the Caped Crusader continues to rack up millions per week and tops $760 million today at the box office. So it’s no surprise Warner Bros. brought Reeves to CinemaCon today to officially announce Reeves and Robert Pattinson will return for The Batman sequel.
CinemaCon is a yearly trade show for theaters, where distributors reveal their goods and express their commitment to the theatrical setting.
Reeves’ return was expected and I’ve long said we could assume he has plans for a trilogy, but it’s great news to hear it finally confirmed. The Batman was already my favorite Batman film and the one closest to the version and story of the character in my head. Likewise, Reeves’ revelation that he’s interested in finding ways to adapt certain more fantastical villains into a grounded pseudo-realism world, and that Mister Freeze is a villain he’s thinking about, is exactly what I’ve longed to see in an ongoing Batman series to build out his larger world and cast of characters.
News of the sequel’s official greenlight comes at a perfect time for the studio, as it builds upon The Batman topping another milestone at the box office and generating huge viewership on streaming. Discovery has to be happy that things are aligning so well for this corner of their new WB/DC/HBO Max kingdom.
The four-plus million households streaming The Batman on HBO Max from April 18th through April 24th is the second-biggest audience for any film’s first week on HBO Max to date, behind only Mortal Kombat.
The Batman is now on track to finish its run with at least $765 million in worldwide receipts, and as much as $770 million. That’s the third-highest gross of any film during the entire pandemic, behind only last year’s Spider-Man: No Way Home ($1.89 billion) and No Time to Die ($774 million).
The Batman is also the seventh-highest grossing DC Comics movie of all time, behind Aquaman ($1.1 billion), The Dark Knight Rises ($1 billion), Joker ($1 billion), The Dark Knight ($1 billion), Batman v Superman ($873 million), and Wonder Woman ($822 million). You might notice something about those six films and The Batman — five of the seven are movies within the world of Batman.
Now, obviously it’s not a startling revelation to say Batman is DC’s most popular brand, especially over the past dozen or so years but also during DC’s previous era (late-1980s and early-to-mid 1990s) of successful and popular superhero cinema. Even the worst-performing “failed” Batman movie Batman & Robin wound up making a few bucks after merchandising and other revenue streams were added to its $238 million box office (about $429 million by today’s standards, not accounting for less theaters and much smaller international box office, less competition from the Internet and streaming, and so on).
That means Batman is one of the most important and successful brands in Warner’s catalogue, and with a new franchise launch so successful amid a pandemic that’s been kneecapping plenty of other major IP, Discovery knows that whatever cuts and cancellations they’ll be making at Warner and HBO Max, Reeves’ Batman world will have plenty of room to expand.