Was KING RICHARD a success? How about MALIGNANT? The truth is, we don’t know.
When it was announced that Warner Bros. would be releasing its entire 2021 slate simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max, it was clear that we would have no idea if these films were hits or not. We have box office data, but the studio doesn’t make streaming numbers available to the public. As a result, we had no way of knowing if the studio’s films were successful or not because we only know half the picture.
Thankfully, in 20222, Warner Bros. has returned to releasing its films exclusively in theaters, which means we will now have full performance transparency. THE BATMAN, due on March, is the inaugural film for the studio’s return to theaters.
As we noted last week, one of the key takeaways of the holiday season is that audiences are being very selective about what films are worthy of a trip to the theater. SPIDER-MAN: NOW WAY HOME accounted for nearly 60% of all ticket sales during the holidays. Unfortunately, filmgoers showed little interest in anything else. December gave us one very big hit and a trail of box office misfires.
Obviously we would like to see a theatrical business where all kinds of films succeed, but if the box office of today is propped up solely on the shoulders of superheroes and tentpoles, then the next big release will be THE BATMAN on March 4th. What remains to be seen is if THE BATMAN can come anywhere close to the record-breaking performance of NO WAY HOME.
Just before its release, NO WAY HOME became the first film to reach the 70/7.0 marks – awareness topped 70% and interest reached 7.0. Prior to NO WAY HOME, no film had accomplished either feat, let alone both at the same time.
THE BATMAN isn’t quite at those heights, though some metrics are on the rise.
On the awareness side, the numbers for BATMAN are skyrocketing. It is now just the 5th film on The Quorum to reach 60%. The film is up 16 points over the past month and 9 points from ten days ago. At this pace, it looks like it could be the 2nd film to reach 70%.
It’s a slightly different story on the interest side. The interest score for BATMAN (light blue) was on the rise through December, but in recent days the numbers have plateaued at 6.6.
Let’s be clear. With an interest score of 6.6 is still very impressive. Among films The Quorum is currently tracking, BATMAN trails only SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE-PART 1 by a small fraction. But at the moment, it is not demonstrating the epically huge interest of NO WAY HOME.
The numbers for BATMAN look pretty good, but are they good enough to propel the film to an opening on the scale of NO WAY HOME’s $260M debut?
True, that’s a lofty goal. Keep in mind that NO WAY HOME had the 2nd largest debut of all time. Perhaps we should lower our expectations. How about $200M?
If BATMAN launched to $200M, it would be among the ten largest of all time and the biggest for a March release. Ok, how about $100M? Five March releases, including BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, have opened above the century mark, so that seems possible. In fact, four of those films debuted above $150M.
Of course, all five of these films were released before 2020. We’re still trying to understand what a “normal” opening looks like in this pandemic era. While it would be great to see BATMAN open above $100M, if it does, it will be only the 2nd film to do since during the pandemic.