The effects of the Omicron surge and many people testing positive for COVID-19 on sets has understandably led to delays for numerous projects. One that doesn’t appear to be experiencing them, at least for the moment, is The Batman, from director Matt Reeves. According to Variety, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar has stated that there the film should still be released as planned – in theaters – on March 4th. “We’re certainly paying attention to everything going on with omicron. We feel good about the date right now. We’re gonna watch it day by day,” he said.
The most significant thing about the latest iteration of the Dark Knight is that it marks a departure from the Warner Bros. strategy for its entire 2021 slate, which included big-budget, effects-heavy films like Dune and The Matrix Resurrections. All 2021 films were released in theaters and on HBO Max on the same day, prompting backlash from industry players but apparently seen as successful by Kilar, who noted that HBO Max had 73.8 million subscribers by the end of the year: “It’s hard to argue; we made the right decision. We served the customers, the fans. We partnered with theaters; we were the only ones to provide 18 theatrical features with full marketing spends and full global theatrical releases. And we worked with our [talent] participants to make sure they were taken care of.”
The Batman begins a new trend of 45-day theatrical windows, where the film, and others, like Black Adam, The Flash, and Elvis, are “literally going to be showing up on day 46 on HBO Max in a variety of territories all over the world.” Kilar cites this as “a very, very big change that I don’t think people appreciate, and I feel really good about it. Think about when movies would show up on HBO, which is eight to nine months after theatrical premiere. The Batman is going to show up on day 46 on HBO Max. That is a huge change from where things were in 2018, 2017, 2016.
The Batman stars Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne, Peter Sarsgaard as District Attorney Gil Colson, Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth, Zoe Kravitz as Selina Kyle, also known as Catwoman, Colin Farrell as Oswald Cobblepot, alias The Penguin, and Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon. It was initially planned for a released in June 2021. As of this writing, it is set to debut in theaters on March 4th, 2022 and on HBO Max on April 19th, 2022.