In 1993, Warner Bros. Pictures released Batman: Mask of the Phantasm – a big screen spin-off of Batman: The Animated Series. The movie – partially inspired by the comic book, Batman: Year Two – boasted a cast that included Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Hart Bochner and Dana Delany and introduced a new villain to Gotham in the form of the mysterious Phantasm.
Released theatrically on Christmas Day, Warner Bros. had high hopes for Batman: Mask of the Phantasm; Batman: The Animated Series was a worldwide smash hit, so a movie based on the show was likely to be popular, right? Sadly not.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is popular and today it is regarded as one of the best Batman movies of all time. However, when it was released in cinemas, the film did not fare so well.
How much money did Batman: Mask of the Phantasm make?
When Batman: Mask of the Phantasm opened in the US, audiences did not rush out to see the movie. Reviews were largely positive, but audiences failed to turn up.
Poor marketing was blamed, but that didn’t help the movie get bums on seats. As such, the film’s theatrical run was short, and Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was not released in cinemas outside of the States.
So, how much did the movie take? According to Box Office Mojo, during its original theatrical run, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm made $5,617,391. This might seem like a decent amount of money for a TV spin-off, but the movie’s production budget was set at $6 million – so it did not recoup its production costs.
Was Batman: Mask of the Phantasm considered a flop?
Because of its poor box office performance in the US, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was considered a flop on release. However, once the film received its home video release its fortunes changed.
Warner Bros. has never released sales figures for Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, but it has certainly proved to be a hit. How do we know this? Because of its legacy.
After Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was released on VHS, Warner Bros. made another animated feature based on Batman: The Animated Series. That film became Batman: Subzero (1998).
This led to Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000) and Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (2003). None of these films would have happened if not for the home video success of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm has also been re-released on multiple occasions, as standalone VHS and DVD releases, as well as a double and triple-feature on DVD (Mask of the Phantasm/Subzero and Mask of the Phantasm/Subzero/Return of the Joker). It has also been released digitally.
In 2017, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was released on Blu-ray through the Warner Archive Collection – a division of Warner Bros. which specialises in cult classics. The popularity of the title convinced the studio to finally give Batman: The Animated Series a HD makeover.
And in 2018, to mark the movie’s 25th anniversary, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was re-released in the US for a limited theatrical performance. This re-release brought in an additional $17,813 of revenue.
So, while Batman: Mask of the Phantasm may have stumbled during its debut it has since made up for it – and then some! I have no doubt the movie will continue to be a popular title for Warner Bros. in the years to come.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm box office stats
- Budget: $6 million
- Release: Christmas Day 1993
- Domestic opening: $1,189,975
- Domestic box office total: $5,617,391
- 2018 re-release domestic box office total: $17,813
- Current theatrical total: $5,635,204
I hope this information about Batman: Mask of the Phantasm has proved useful. Should you want to read more posts about Batman movies, please take a look through I’ll Get Drive-Thru, or alternatively check out one of the recommended reads below.