The Batman had a triumphant opening this past weekend, taking in roughly $130 million, the second biggest opening of any film released during the pandemic.
But movie goers at Moviehouse & Eatery by Cinepolis in Austin, Texas last Friday found themselves in for an unexpectedly immersive showing of Matt Reeves re-imagining of Gotham City and its inhabitants.
This particular showing included an appearance by a live bat.
It is believed an audience member—maybe taking inspiration from The Joker—snuck the animal into the theater and released it during the film.
The bat was recorded flying through the auditorium by Jeremiah Milligan, who later posted the video to his Twitter page.
With the auditorium lights on and the film on the screen appearing to be paused, Milligan panned his camera around the auditorium, remarking on the ironic situation he and fellow audience members found themselves in.
"I'm at 'The Batman' movie, and there are bats in the movie."
The furry, winged creature could then be seen quickly flying under the lights near the auditorium's ceiling.
Milligan would later tell Storyful he assumed the live creature was meant to be part of the experience.
"I figured the bat was a part of the film until I noticed how out of place the bat was compared to the scene of the movie.”
“One of the waiters asked if they could pause the film to see what was flying around the cinema."
"To our surprise, there was a bat flying around."
As evidenced by a second video shared on Twitter, efforts were made by the theater's staff to remove the winged creature from the auditorium.
In the video, a theater employee could be seen standing at the front of the auditorium, explaining their plan to lure the bat out of the auditorium, so the audience could continue to enjoy the film.
"We will use the projector to turn that light off and I’m gonna turn all these lights off and try and get it to go into this lighted area."
"If you are uncomfortable being in the dark with a bat, please remove yourself now."
The employee's speech was greeted by a round of laughter, but according to CBS Austin all attempts at luring the bat out of the auditorium were unsuccessful.
However audiences inside the auditorium at the time must have been feeling, viewers of both of the videos on Twitter had trouble controlling their amusement.
Several pointed out those in attendance ended up getting an even more impressive experience than they paid for.
Some commended the movie theater employee for her efforts to get the situation under control.
While at least one pointed out how the situation could have been much worse if this same prankster had been at any other movies with animals in their title.
Others expressed their relief they weren't at that particular showing.
While a few had some harsh words directed at the prankster who somehow managed to sneak the bat into the theater, feeling bad not only for the audience but for the bat as well.
After the unsuccessful attempts to remove the animal by the theater's staff, Heidi Deno, the theater's general manager, told NBC affiliate KXAN animal control was eventually contacted.
"Local animal control was immediately contacted, and they have been overseeing the situation to ensure guest, associate and animal safety."
Refunds were offered to the audience, an offer Milligan chose to accept.
But as Milligan told Storyful, the majority of the audience seemed unfazed by the presence of the bat and chose to stay and finish the film.
Deno went on to say that following the incident, the theater will likely be tightening its security.
"To ensure a prank like this does not again occur, we will be adding additional security and checking all bags upon guest entry."
This should bar any possibility for cats, penguins or robins making appearances at any future screenings.