‘The Batman’ proves a theatrical release before streaming is not such a bad idea after all

Image via Warner Bros.

Amid growing concerns that cinema would never recover from the slump caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Warner Bros. decided last year to release several of its hotly-anticipated titles concurrently in theaters and on HBO Max, leading to a ton of backlash from creatives like Dune‘s Denis Villeneuve and Tenet‘s Christopher Nolan.

Apparently, though, and despite the company’s presentiment to remain in the competition with this strategy, Matt Reeves’ The Batman has managed to prove the opposite is true.

We’ve learned through a report by Deadline that the Dark Knight reboot managed to rope in more household viewers in its first week on HBO Max than many other flicks did, including Dune, Wonder Woman 1984, and The Matrix Resurrections, despite premiering on the juggernaut’s streaming platform at the same time as in theaters.

The Batman brought in 4.1 million households, whereas The Suicide Squad only retained 3.5 million, with Wonder Woman 1984 coming close on its heels with 3.2 million. As for Dune and The Matrix Resurrections, the two films managed 2.3 million and 3.2 million, respectively.

This record-breaking achievement is on top of the movie’s whopping $750 million worldwide box office gross, proving that a 45-day theatrical run before release on streaming platforms isn’t such a terrible idea after all.

Of course, it might be a little too late for Warner Bros. to make amends now. Emboldened by the controversy surrounding this decision, the company’s long-time partner Christopher Nolan cut ties and decided to take his new feature film, Oppenheimer, to a new distributor in the form of Universal Pictures.

Still, The Batman‘s first week on streaming even managed to trump even Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which came out directly on HBO Max. And that alone speaks volumes about the crew’s achievement beyond all the acclaim that’s still being heaped on the Caped Crusader’s monumental return to the big screens.