Robert Pattinson’s version of DC Comics’ caped crusader, The Batman, just logged the most successful opening weekend of all the first installments in the Batman series of films.
The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, both drew over $1 billion worldwide. But the film that started that series, Batman Begins, starring Christian Bale and directed by Christopher Nolan, brought in just $48 million during its opening weekend in the US.
Previous Batman films, led by actors including Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, and George Clooney, all had respectable box office runs, but none amassed the opening weekend success of Pattinson’s version, which was directed by Matt Reeves. Previously, Reeves’ most successful film was Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, part of another rebooted franchise, garnering $72 million during its opening weekend in 2014.
Although the rebooted franchise came as a surprise to some given how recently the Nolan films were released, the fact is that The Dark Knight Rises is almost 10 years old. For comparison, only three years passed before Sony rebooted the Andrew Garfield version of Spider-Man with Tom Holland, the current actor playing the lead role.
Some of the early too much too soon fan concern may have also been due to the fact that Ben Affleck took on the role about six years ago in Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, which was essentially a Justice League film rather than a standalone reboot of the Batman series.
The most successful Batman opening weekend ever was The Dark Knight Rises sequel at $160 million, despite mixed reviews. But that film was riding on the success of the grittier The Dark Knight. While the Dark Knight series offered more mature themes, embodied by Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker, The Batman leans on the source material of “The Long Halloween,” a tale of an early, less polished Batman who is hunting a mysterious serial killer even as he is pursued by the police.
The latest results from The Batman, which is arguably even darker than its predecessor, hints that this is the version of the Gotham City vigilante that theatergoers have been waiting for.