- The Batman actor Robert Pattinson has tested positive for COVID-19. Production on the latest big-screen version of DC Comics’ Caped Crusader has been – once again – shut down.
- Insurance should cover Warner Bros.’ expenses resulting from the delay; but following this COVID-19 scare, insurers will likely be even more averse to providing such coverage for upcoming productions.
Robert Pattinson & COVID-19: Positive result halts production on The Batman + unnerves wobbly film industry
After the COVID-19 pandemic began shutting down workplaces and economies last February and March, filmmaking came to an abrupt halt on much of the planet.
Since then, shooting has resumed on a handful of major productions: James Cameron’s Avatar 2/Avatar 3 combo, Lana Wachowski’s The Matrix 4, Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World: Dominion, and, a few days ago at Leavesden Studios (a.k.a. Warner Bros. Studios) outside of London, Matt Reeves’ The Batman.
In the case of Warners’ hoped-for DC Extended Universe blockbuster, shooting has not only resumed but also been halted – once again – following the revelation that Batman himself, Robert Pattinson, has tested positive for “the coronavirus.”
It’s unclear how Pattinson contracted the virus and whether he actually has any symptoms.
Just as unclear is when shooting of The Batman will resume. In accordance to the United Kingdom’s COVID-19 rules, Pattinson and those who have been in close contact with him will have to remain isolated for at least 10 days.
Needless to say, shooting delays translate into higher production costs. On the brighter side, as The Batman began filming before the COVID-19 pandemic seized the planet, insurers should be able to alleviate Warners’ budgetary concerns.
Another bright spot of sorts: As explained in Variety, Warners’ production pipeline shouldn’t suffer as a result of The Batman’s troubles, as the Leavesden Studios should next see some big-time activity only in spring 2021. That’s when filming is scheduled to commence on another superhero flick with blockbuster aspirations, The Flash, reportedly to star Ezra Miller.
Yet even if things run smoothly from now on, that will likely do little to reassure risk-averse insurance companies, which, if they were to cover new productions, could end up on the hook for tens of millions of dollars as a consequence of pandemic-related production delays. And that’s bad news not only for Hollywood but for film industries in much of the globe.
In March, analysts predicted that the global film industry would lose at a minimum $5 billion in box office revenues due to the pandemic.
COVID-19 has officially infected more than 27 million people worldwide, killing nearly 900,000. Actual figures are likely much higher.
Also as per official data, the five countries with the highest number of COVID-19 fatalities – i.e., five major nations whose leaders have botched their response to the pandemic – are the United States, Brazil, India, Mexico, and the U.K.
For now, The Batman is scheduled to have its U.S. debut in late October 2021.
See below The Batman teaser trailer.
The Batman cast lacks Oscar pedigree
Besides the 34-year-old Robert Pattinson, whose post-Twilight Saga career has earned him critical accolades and several award nominations (e.g., Spirit Award nods for Good Time, 2017; and The Lighthouse, 2019), The Batman cast includes:
Curiously missing from The Batman’s cast list are Academy Award-pedigreed names like those featured in Batman movies of the last three decades: Jack Nicholson, Tommy Lee Jones, Liam Neeson, Michael Caine, Tom Wilkinson, Heath Ledger, Marion Cotillard, Anne Hathaway.
Admittedly, Oscar pedigree can be found among The Batman’s behind-the-scenes talent: Cinematographer Greig Fraser (nominated for Lion, 2016), composer Michael Giacchino (winner for Up, 2009), costume designer Jacqueline Durran (winner for Anna Karenina, 2012; Little Women, 2019).
As per online reports, Matt Reeves and Peter Craig are the ones getting screenplay credit.
Batmen through the ages
The first major big-screen Bruce Wayne/Batman was Michael Keaton in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman and its 1992 sequel, Batman Returns.
Since then, moviegoers have witnessed the birth of Batmen of various sizes, shapes, and levels of effectiveness: Val Kilmer in Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever (1995); George Clooney in Schumacher’s Batman & Robin (1997); Christian Bale in Christopher Nolan’s early 21st-century trilogy Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), and The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
The most recent big-screen Caped Crusader, Ben Affleck starred opposite Henry Cavill and Amy Adams in Zack Snyder’s generally derided box office disappointment Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). Additionally, Affleck was seen in the superhero mishmashes Suicide Squad (2016) and Justice League (2017).
Robert Pattinson in box office hit Tenet
This year, Batman-in-the-making Robert Pattinson can be seen in Tenet.
Written and directed by Christopher Nolan, the sci-fi/spy thriller has to date taken in an estimated $146 million worldwide.
“Robert Pattinson COVID-19 Positive Test” endnotes
Robert Pattinson The Batman image: Warner Bros.
“Robert Pattinson COVID-19 Positive Test Halts The Batman + Unsettles Wobbly Industry” last updated in July 2021.