A sequel to Matt Reeve’s The Batman seems nailed on at this point. However the news out of Warner Bros. is that it is yet to receive the official green light. The Batman was released only in theatres, but with a reduced 45-day window before appearing on HBO Max and other PVOD platforms worldwide. Despite the short wait, and a 3 hour run time, the movie neared $800 million at the box office and then millions more in PVOD fees, plus over 4 million views a week on HBO Max. It was, by all measures, a big hit.
So what’s the delay? The Batman 2 is in active development with several cast members from the first movie in place, and Matt Reeves working on the script. It is just not yet greenlit. It is awaiting the current studio turbulence to clear.
According to a report in Variety, The Batman 2 will continue the gritty and noir tone of the original. That movie surprised quite a few people. The tone had been much discussed and we were expecting something adjacent to Nolan’s “real-world” interpretation of Batman, as opposed to the more fantastical elements of Burton, or even the Snyderverse.
Nobody expected it to go quite as dark as it did, at times resembling a horror movie. It also had lashings of the world’s greatest detective thrown in, more than we have ever really seen before in live-action Batman. It did this while showing us a stage in the Batman’s career we hadn’t really seen before, allowing this interpretation room to grow.
With Joker 2 now moving at speed, it seemed a certainty this would follow behind.
The movie was originally confirmed in April which started the active development process. Since then the Warner Bros. Discovery strategy towards the DCEU has been announced to include a 10-year plan. David Zaslav said at the time:
“We have done a reset. We’ve structured the business. There will be a team with a 10-year plan focusing just on DC. It’s very similar to the structure that Alan Horne and Bob Iger put together very effectively with Kevin Feige at Disney. We think we could build a long-term, much more sustainable growth business out of DC, and as part of that, we’re going to focus on quality. We’re not going to release any film before it’s ready… The focus is going to be, how do we make each of these films, in general, as good as possible? DC is something we can make better, and we’re focused on it now.”
Two HBO Max spin-offs around Colin Farrell’s Penguin and Arkham Asylum are still also in-flight showing that Warner Bros. Discovery still plan to make this the centrepiece Batman going forward.
However, this is Warner Bros. and we know the current situation is, in management speak, highly fluid and dynamic.