Four men were arrested in Egypt on Wednesday on suspicion of organising a street fight in which participants planned to dress up as Batman.
The fighters would then spar for the title of “the real Batman”.
Tens of thousands of invitations to an online event before the fight were accepted. Many social media users said they would go to simply watch the fight and not participate.
According to Facebook posts circulated on the group’s page, the plan was to meet outside the Helwan metro station south of Cairo, and battle it out for the title.
The bout, planned for August 13, led to the hashtags #BatmanHelwan and #TheRealBatman being shared by thousands of Egyptians.
Participants from provinces outside Cairo also became involved in event, reportedly hosting qualifier rounds in their hometowns, the winners of which would move on to the main fight in Helwan.
The Interior Ministry said that the four arrested men were the ones who had masterminded the event.
It said the group organised the event and spent a great deal of effort to spread it online to make money out of the publicity. The ministry’s statement also accused the men of planning to attract advertising with the street fight.
The story began when one young man posted a comedy video on social media. In it, he was dressed in a shoddy Batman outfit and boasted that he was the “real” Batman. His friends began to respond with similar videos making the same claim.
The trend spread through Egyptian social media channels, with celebrities also posting about it.
One user then suggested that the group host a physical battle to prove once and for all which of them was the real Batman.
The group agreed on August 13 as the date of the fight before they were arrested.
The incident has also led to augmented reality videos showing renditions of Batman walking in Egypt’s poorer areas, which were widely shared.
Batman is popular in Egypt, where it is not uncommon to see stickers of the superhero on passing cars.
In 2020, a man in an open car modified to look like the Batmobile drove around an affluent area and waved at confused passers-by. He became a local celebrity and posed for pictures with his fans.