The Quorum

THE BATMAN is in the home stretch. Will it have the largest opening for a March release?

Hold on, folks. Here we go. THE BATMAN is only three weeks away from release, which means we are squarely in the homestretch. 

We know the movie will be big, but how big? To answer that, let’s start with some historicals. 

Here are the ten March releases with the largest opening weekends. Five of them debuted above $100M and four reached $150M. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is tops with a $175M debut. This is the neighborhood where BATMAN wants to live.

It’s important to note that there is always a danger in using pre-pandemic titles as a benchmark for films being released today. The world of theatrical is very different than it was two years ago. At the same time, there is precedent showing that, among superhero movies, pandemic era films can do just as well as the pre-pandemic comps.

We first saw this with VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE in October. Not many people expected the sequel to top the $80M opening for the first VENOM film. So when CARNAGE debuted to $90M, it was a welcome sign that pandemic-era films can do very big business.  

A few weeks later, SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME broke the record for the largest December opening with an astonishing $260M haul. So, yes, the select few can match or exceed pre-pandemic grosses. 

With that in mind, it is entirely fair to think that BATMAN could be the sixth March release to cross $100M. But can it reach the $260M opening for SPIDER-MAN? That seems unlikely given that the holiday season propels December releases to box office grosses that we simply don’t see in March. So the more appropriate question is, can BATMAN break the $175M March record the same way SPIDER-MAN broke the December record?

THE DATA:

To answer that, let’s look at the numbers. BATMAN is currently 23 days before release (DBR). To see how well BATMAN is tracking, first, we will compare it to SPIDER-MAN at the same distance from release. 

We’re also interested in comparing BATMAN to the next tier of blockbusters. We took the five films from 2021with the largest opening weekends after SPIDER-MAN and averaged their scores across each metric. Note, we are only using films that had exclusively theatrical releases. Sorry, BLACK WIDOW.

Here’s where things get interesting. When we go metric by metric, the numbers for BATMAN are impressive. In fact, at the same distance from release, BATMAN is tracking better, or on par, with SPIDER-MAN. 

Looking at awareness, BATMAN is already at 71%. SPIDER-MAN was at 54% at 23 days before release. 

On the interest side, THE BATMAN has a score of 6.6. Yup, that’s also higher than SPIDER-MAN.

When we asked people whether they would prefer to watch BATMAN at home or in a theater, 56% said they would choose a theater. That’s a hair behind SPIDER-MAN, but well above the average for the next five tentpoles. 

Finally, when we look at whether people would be willing to open their wallets, 76% said they would pay to watch BATMAN, which is in line with SPIDER-MAN.

Based on these numbers at 23 DBR, BATMAN looks to be huge. But, let’s be clear, this is a snapshot of a moment in time. What’s more important is how the numbers change over the next three weeks.

The chart below shows the awareness for SPIDER-MAN (dark yellow), VENOM (light yellow), and BATMAN (brown) based on distance from release. SPIDER-MAN may have opened with an awareness of 73, but that was after a very steep upward spike in the final two weeks. 

BATMAN has already crossed 70% with three weeks to go. In fact, these are the only two films of the pandemic-era to reach that 70% threshold. Clearly, awareness is not a problem for the film. 

It’s a slightly different story when we look at interest over time. Like above, SPIDER-MAN saw a big jump in interest during the final stretch before opening with a score of 7.2. Interest for BATMAN, however, has been stuck in the mid-’60s for several weeks. We’re not seeing the same lift that we did for SPIDER-MAN. At least not yet. 

And that right there might be the difference. Awareness for BATMAN is fine. But, its inability to elevate its interest score above 7.0 is what may keep the film from breaking box office records. If there’s one thing to watch over the next three weeks, it’s this metric.

So, indeed, the BATMAN numbers are at a highly elevated level. You can see it is tracking well above VENOM, which, as noted above, opened to $90M. But, its record-breaking prospects may lie in its ability to generate higher interest. 

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