THE BATMAN has led a charmed life in theatres thus far, grossing nearly $600M globally in only 17 days since its debut. However, the Matt Reeves directed film has run up against an unforeseen obstacle in its Chinese release, due to the surging number of COVID infections in Chinese cities.
As of Friday, the outbreak had caused approximately 30% of Chinese theatres to close, resulting in a sudden lowering of box office expectations for its opening weekend anywhere from one to two-thirds. The deflation represents a significant hit for the film’s stakeholders since China has been the largest global film market during the pandemic.
These results were especially disappointing for Warner Bros. since THE BATMAN is the first Hollywood superhero movie in over a year that the Chinese government allowed to be released in the local market. Prior to the pandemic, Hollywood had become accustomed to seeing strong results in the Chinese market for their franchise blockbusters.
However, a number of factors have caused Hollywood’s results in China to fade. These factors include the government not allowing local releases for major titles such as SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, ETERNALS & SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME, which has left Chinese moviegoers with less access to and interest in Hollywood movies. Many had hoped that THE BATMAN, would reverse the downward trend, but it seems that the Hollywood blues in China are continuing.