Last Updated on April 2, 2022 by Lil Ginge
The Batman (2022) starring Robert Pattinson as the dark knight detective, will be released on March 4, 2022. But what is the film’s production budget and why is it lower than some people anticipated?
In this article, we’ll look at The Batman’s budget and examine why some people expected the number to come in higher.
What Is The Batman?
The Batman is a new superhero film directed by Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Cloverfield) set to reboot the franchise and reintroduce the character. Batman has now gone through many iterations on film, including Warner Bros.’ first real foray into Batman films with Batman (1989) directed by Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher’s soft reboot Batman Forever (1995), Christopher Nolan’s brilliant revisioning with Batman Begins (2005), and Zack Snyder’s controversial take with Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
The cast for The Batman includes
- Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne / Batman
- Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman
- Andy Serkis as Batman’s butler Alfred Pennyworth
- Colin Farrell as The Penguin
- Paul Dano as The Riddler (the film’s central antagonist)
- Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon
- and John Turturro as Carmine Falcone.
Based on film trailers that we have seen and comments from Reeves and others involved in the production, The Batman is a gritty and dark take on the Batman mythos. It seems more akin to a serial killer psycho-thriller than the more traditional action-adventure genre where Batman movies tend to live. The film was originally supposed to be released in June 2021 but was postponed due to COVID. It is now set for a March 4, 2022 release.
How does The Batman’s Budget Compare with Other Batman Movies?
The reported production budget for The Batman is reportedly $100 million, a surprisingly low figure for many people for this film. This is especially true when you compare the production budget of this movie to prior Batman films. Here is a list of the production budgets for the Batman franchise from highest to lowest in non-inflation adjusted numbers:
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – $263 million
- The Dark Knight Rises – $250 million
- The Dark Knight – $185 million
- Batman & Robin – $160 million
- Batman Begins – $150 million
- The Batman – $100 million
- Batman Forever – $100 million
- Batman Returns – $80 million
- Batman – $35 million
That puts The Batman’s budget at the same non-inflation adjusted dollar amount as Batman Forever. However, If Batman Forever were produced today, its $100 million budget would be close to the $185 million of The Dark Knight – about $183 million, to be more precise.
Similarly, Batman (1989), which had the lowest absolute production budget at $35 million, would have to be produced today at about $78.6 million, still the cheapest Batman film but much closer to The Batman’s $100 million production budget.
How Does The Batman’s Production Budget Compare With Other Recent DC Films?
Another way to understand the context of The Batman’s $100 million production budget is to look at it compared with other DC Universe films. Here’s a breakdown of those production budgets:
Justice League: $300 million
Man of Steel: $225 million
The Suicide Squad: $185 million
Suicide Squad: $175 million
Aquaman: $160 million
Wonder Woman: $150 million
The Batman: $100 million
Shazam!: $85 million
Birds of Prey: $82 million
Additionally, Joker, the 2019 psychological thriller by Todd Phillips about the origin of Batman’s arch-enemy, had a production budget of only $55 million.
Though The Batman’s production budget is not extremely far off from other solo superhero debuts like Wonder Woman and Aquaman at $150 million and $160 million, respectively, it’s safe to say the budget comes nowhere close to what the studio dished out to Zack Snyder for his Superman-led Justice League trilogy at $225 million-plus per pop.
What Does The Batman’s Budget Mean About the Film?
Because The Batman’s production budget is somewhat low compared with other DC Films and to expectations, there are a few things to surmise. For starters, this is likely to be a different kind of Batman film, especially when compared with Zack Snyder and Ben Affleck’s take on the character starting with Batman v Superman.
Influences on the film include Se7en, Zodiac, and Taxi Driver, among others. While these are exciting and “action-packed” movies in one sense, they aren’t the kind of extremely effects-heavy CGI behemoths that superhero movies have become in the era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In some ways, the effects may be toned down even from Nolan’s use of them in The Dark Knight Trilogy. While Nolan preferred the use of big-budget practical effects rather than digital CGI, creating real Batmobiles and blowing them up – in addition to blowing up whole buildings and lots of other things – isn’t cheap.
Another interesting thing to note is the salary costs. For example, Robert Pattinson, likely earning more money than anyone else in the cast at this point, reportedly earned $3 million to play Batman. You can compare that with Chris Hemsworth, for example, who is reportedly being paid $20 million for Thor: Love and Thunder.
In the end, The Batman’s production budget seems to be a reflection of a toned-down, smaller, and more traditionally cinematic conception of a Batman movie. If Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder tend to swing to-and-fro on the Martin Scorsese-to-Michael-Bay spectrum, it seems Matt Reeves is going to be squarely more on the Scorsese side.
Final Thoughts on The Batman’s Production Budget
The Batman is the first solo Batman introductory film since Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, released over 15 years ago way back in 2005. DC Films, one of The Batman’s production companies, is set to release five movies this year. But Batman is the most reliable box office draw for the comic book-based film production company.
Warner Bros. has not confirmed that The Batman’s has been developed with a $100 million budget. But assuming the widespread industry reporting is true, we may be in for a bit of a “smaller” Batman film than we usually get.
This is not at all a bad thing. Batman movies work best when they focus on story, dialogue, character, and emotional depth. Kick-ass action is supposed to serve these elements rather than the other way around. If the production budget of The Batman is any indication, that is exactly what we are going to get.
If you enjoyed this article on The Batman’s Production Budget, check out my recent article on which production companies made The Batman.