Thursday, April 11

‘The Batman’ arrives at HBO Max: it is a litmus test for short exposure windows at the box office

It is, without a doubt, the great premiere in streaming of this month. ‘The Batman’, released a little over a month ago in Spain, on March 4, reduces its screening window to the maximum and arrives on HBO Max on April 19. It will also be available for rent for 12.99 euros and for sale for 16.99 on platforms such as Apple TV, Rakuten TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Vodafone, Movistar +, Orange TV, YouTube and Microsoft. But the real news is its arrival on HBO Max for all platform subscribers.

Nothing less than ‘The Batman’. We do not need to dwell too much on the impact of ‘The Batman’, precisely because its success and the echo of its box office continues to reverberate. Its international opening in 74 countries in its first weekend was settled with 120 million dollars of collection, plus 128.5 million in the United States a week before. In a single week it far exceeded its budget of about 200 million dollars.

The dizzying numbers don’t end there: in just three days it became Warner’s biggest post-pandemic hit. Accounting for the premiere in Asia and the rest of the world, it has grossed 735.2 million dollars worldwide, and its figures have only been surpassed by ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’. They are the only two films since 2019 that exceed 225 million at the box office. And it also endorses the validity of Batman as the essential hero of Warner’s pantheon of superheroes (let’s not forget, the most profitable genre in today’s cinema), and the possibility that the company will once again try to reactivate its DC superhero fauna.

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Open windows. This success only reinforces the powerful and unusual nature of Warner’s strategy of reducing its theatrical release window to 45 days: we haven’t stopped talking about the film yet and we already have it at our fingertips, in streaming. It is, without a doubt, a different policy than a few years ago, where the conversation about movies came in waves: first the impact on the box office in theaters, then the arrival on home video and services premiumlater television and streaming.

New times, new strategies. Now, the intention is that we never stop talking about movies. The arrival of social networks has also ended up modeling this style of display: hype preview on social networks, dosage of information through leaks, previews for influencers and other marketing maneuvers with an eye on social networks and fandom, theatrical release and later, avalanche of accessibility on television, home format, streaming, rental and digital purchase. All in a single timeline, with hardly any breaks. Ideally, as has happened with ‘The Batman’, without the film being out of the conversation.

Alpha priority: HBO Max. Not only does this shrinking of windows keep the movie conversation going, it also makes it clear that HBO Max is a priority for Warner. While what Disney+ does from relegating to streaming Pixar’s premieres is a way of providing exclusives to the platform with which to attack its competitors, in the case of Warner it seems to obey a strategy that involves all the states of exploitation of its films. It’s not clear how the move will pan out for Disney+, beyond pissing off Pixar executives and perhaps wasting the commercial potential of movies like ‘Red’, but looking at ‘The Batman’ box office, it’s clear how it works out for Warner. .

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Along the way, however, ‘The Batman’ loses some momentum at the box office, which will possibly experience a drop starting next week (or from this week, with the announcement of the exact landing date in streaming). As IndieWire tells: 45 days after its premiere, ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ was earning 60 million dollars at the box office. It is doubtful that ‘The Batman’, which will enter HBO Max after those 45 days, will make the same figure, although in any case it would be less: about 25-30 million, according to the website.

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shorter cycles. It is perhaps the first time that a film of this magnitude has benefited from the 45-day window, to the horror of exhibitors who are going to see the box office fall for the first big hit of the year. And above all, it is a precedent that is only matched by Universal, which has a policy of 30 days of exhibition in theaters before moving to streaming if its first weekend grosses more than 50 million dollars (and partially by Disney, which for example, it premiered ‘Encanto’ on Disney+ 30 days after its release in theaters). But of course, Universal exploitation platforms such as Peacock do not have the depth of HBO Max (we will have to see what happens with the future SkyShowtime) and possibly Universal films such as the next ‘Jurassic World’ go through an intermediate rental period.

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