Batman movies have been hitting cinema screens since 1966. The first Batman film was Batman: The Movie – a spin-off of the popular Batman TV show – and long before that, the Caped Crusader was breaking into live-action stories through serials: The Batman (1943) and Batman and Robin (1949).
During the 1980s and 1990s, the Caped Crusader had big success at the box office, and even bigger success during the 2000s & 2010s. Batman has had popular movies and not-so-popular movies, but he has continued to pop up consistently regardless of peaks and troughs.
It is fair to say that Batman and the big screen go together like bacon and eggs, franks and beans, and death and taxes. So, whenever the question arises, ‘will there be another Batman movie?’, the answer always has to be ‘yes’. Always.
Batman on the big screen
What is the next Batman movie? Good question – it depends on what day/month/year you are asking.
The release date of the next Batman film will always change depending on when you ask that question and the subject matter and/or title will always be in a state of flux. New writers, directors, and ideas attach themselves to Batman movie projects all the time, meaning the Batman film series will develop and grew accordingly.
If you are reading this post trying to find out what the next Batman movie will be, then I’m afraid this isn’t the post for you. The point of this post is to highlight why there will be another Batman movie.
And there will. If it is not in cinemas now, then it is in production. If it is not in production, then it is being discussed with a view to going into production shortly.
Why? Because Batman movies are a business – and a successful one at that.
Take the Batman Anthology as an example. The series – which ran from 1989 until 1997 – was envisioned as a continual series, with more stories added over time. However, the negative feedback received by Batman & Robin (1997) – a subject I talk about in my post, ‘Why is Batman & Robin considered the worst Batman movie?’ – put the brakes on the series and it ended rather abruptly.
But two key factors were evident from that situation:
- The Batman Anthology as a whole made lots of money – regardless of Batman & Robin’s shortcomings
- The Batman movies continued beyond the Batman Anthology
These two factors are important because money is the driver behind the Batman movie series. When Batman & Robin failed critically and commercially in 1997, Warner Bros. Pictures didn’t cancel all Batman movies, the studio simply cancelled that particular run of films to focus on new ideas.
Collectively the Batman Anthology had brought in over $1.2 billion, so why put an end to that? Just because one film failed doesn’t mean the next will. There is always the potential for more when the time is right.
Eight years later, in 2005, the time was right and Batman Begins opened to rave reviews. During its theatrical run the movie made over $372 million at the box office and this made it very clear there was a lot of life left in Batman films.
And not only were Batman Begins’ box office returns higher than Batman & Robin’s, they were also a good investment on a budget of $150 million. Batman Begins also kick-started a new run of films, which included The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012), which made over $1 billion a piece when they were released in cinemas.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) followed and cleared $870 million and more films continued with Suicide Squad (2016) and Justice League (2017). OK, so not every Batman film hit the right notes and some missed the mark completely, but as a bankable property, the Caped Crusader proved time and time again that he was a sound investment.
And this is the reason why Batman has appeared in so many live-action films and is also the reason why he fronts so many animated movies too. Audiences are interested in his story and they will continue to invest their time and money in his films to see how they are told (and re-told).
Batman by the numbers
To provide an indication of how successful the Batman movies are, here is a list of all the films in the series alongside their box office results. This list does not include Batman: The Movie, as there are no accurate box office figures for this movie.
- Batman (1989) – $411,508,343
- Batman Returns (1992) – $266,892,996
- Batman Forever (1995) – $336,567,158
- Batman & Robin (1997) – $238,235,719
- Catwoman (2004) – $82,102,379
- Batman Begins (2005) – $374,218,673
- The Dark Knight (2008) – $1,004,934,033
- The Dark Knight Rises (2012) – $1,084,939,099
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) – $873,634,919
- Suicide Squad (2016) – $746,846,894
- Justice League (2017) – $657,924,295
While not all of these films were hits – both Catwoman and Justice League cost Warner Bros. money – the series as a whole is very profitable.
So long as Batman movies continue to make money, audiences should always expect to see Batman movies going into production – be it live-action or animated. As we saw with the period between Batman & Robin and Batman Begins there can be pauses in the franchise, but those pauses don’t signal the end of the series.
The Batman films make money. The Batman comics provide a constant source of new stories. New stories can provide inspiration for new movies and those movies can then make more money.
It’s a circle. A business. There will be more Batman movies, just like there will be more James Bond movies, Spider-Man films, or Superman pictures – the popularity of these characters will never fade away.
Why do you believe Batman is so popular with audiences? Is there something about his character that connects with cinemagoers? Sound off in the comments section and have your say.
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