The Batman Director Matt Reeves Felt "Fear" Before Fan Reactions to First Trailer

“I’m vengeance,” growled Robert Pattinson’s Dark Knight in the first trailer for The Batman, scored to Nirvana’s “Something In The Way.” The teaser trailer, released during DC FanDome in 2020, offered a 134-second sneak peek at the gritty and grungy reboot as envisioned by Cloverfield and War for the Planet of the Apes filmmaker Matt Reeves — or, at least, a quarter of it. “We’ve only shot 25% of the movie,” Reeves said at virtual FanDome, “but there was no way I couldn’t show part of the movie.” Filming on The Batman had paused months earlier due to the pandemic, but fan reactions out of the event helped assuage fears about Reeves’ vision for a rebooted Batman.

“The first FanDome was very exciting. I have to say, one of the things that’s really exciting for me is I love to look at the fan reactions whenever we release one of those trailers,” Reeves said when asked about early reactions during a Q&A hosted by Twitter Movies. “The fan reaction to that trailer was so edifying. When you take on something like Batman, you take it on with a huge amount of fear because you think, ‘I want to do this,’ but you know that everyone has their own version of Batman in their head already.”

In the peek from what acts as Batman’s reveal in the movie, “Vengeance” emerges out of the shadows to pummel a face-painted thug in the gutter of Gotham City. The dark and moody trailer teased the re-imagined Riddler (Paul Dano), Penguin (Colin Farrell), and Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz), but Batman as the embodiment of vengeance is what Reeves wanted to sell The Batman.

“I was really fortunate that we had shot that scene of Rob coming out in what became sort of the signature moment where he gets asked, ‘What are you supposed to be?,’ and he says, ‘I’m vengeance,’ after unleashing on that thug. I was glad we shot that, because to me, that was emblematic of what I wanted to do that in the movie,” Reeves said. “I was like, ‘What version of Batman are we? It’s this version.’ I wanted that to be the thing, and thank God we’d already shot it, because that’s what we got to show to the audience the first time when they saw it online.”

“I think the reason it was so great is, I didn’t know for sure if that was a version that the audience was going to like or want,” Reeves continued. “When there was that reaction, it was like, ‘Okay, we’re on a path that people are going to want to see, and I know that people are at least interested so far.’ So it’s been exciting with each trailer to watch the reactions.”

The Batman scored an A- grade from opening-night moviegoers polled by CinemaScore, putting the DC Films reboot on par with Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins (A) and The Dark Knight (A). After opening wide on Thursday, The Batman is tracking for an opening weekend of at least $120 million — a pandemic second-best after Spider-Man: No Way Home‘s $260 million.

ComicBook CRAM Presents The Batman:

Starring Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Andy Serkis, and Colin Farrell, The Batman is now playing exclusively in movie theaters.

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