The Batman’ Rules Again, Crosses $300 Million in North America

Robert Pattinson’s gritty superhero adventure “The Batman” is the No. 1 movie at the domestic box office for the third weekend in a row.

That feat is not surprising because March has been relatively light in terms of new releases. But even though there hasn’t been much competition, “The Batman” has managed to score impressive week-to-week holds. The movie collected $36.8 million from 4,302 theaters between Friday and Sunday, representing only a 45% decline from last weekend.

Those ticket sales push “The Batman” past $300 million in North America, making the comic book adaptation the second pandemic-era movie to cross that benchmark after “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

At the international box office, the Warner Bros. film opened in China — where 43% of the country’s theaters are closed due to COVID-19 cases — to a muted $12.1 million. In total, “The Batman” added $49.1 million from 76 overseas markets, taking its global total to a mighty $598 million. Those returns represent a needed commercial win for Warner Bros., which spent $200 million to produce “The Batman” and many millions more to market the film to audiences across the world.

Three new movies opened nationwide, but the manga adaptation “Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie,” A24’s slasher thriller “X,” and the Focus Features mystery drama “The Outfit” did not pose a threat to “The Batman.”

In second place on domestic box office charts, the PG-13 “Jujutsu Kaisen 0” notched a remarkable $17.6 million from 2,340 locations in its debut. Anime films have been increasingly popular in North America, and Funimation, which recently merged with Crunchyroll and is mostly owned by Sony Pictures, has been at the forefront. Last spring, the film company opened “Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train” to $21.2 million, a huge result at a time when cinemas were operating at reduced capacity.

“This is a terrific opening,” says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “Reviews are exceptional for this and for all of Funimation/Crunchyroll movies. They have not missed.”

Meanwhile, “X” landed in fourth place with $4.2 million from 2,865 venues. Those numbers mark a quieter start, especially considering the loud praise “X” received after premiering at the South by Southwest film festival earlier this month.

However, Gross points out, “Horror is not expensive to make — clever cinematography, editing and sound design go a very long way. ‘X’ should recover its costs and make a few dollars after all ancillary money is counted.”

Ti West wrote and directed “X,” which follows actors making an adult film in rural Texas. But once the reclusive hosts, an elderly couple, catch the guests in the act, things get messy.

Variety’s chief film critic Owen Gleiberman promises that “X” will “earn your fear.” He calls the movie “a deliberate, loving and meticulous homage that isn’t simply trying to cash in on the legacy of the greatest horror film of the last half century.”