After holding its position as the top movie at the box office for a solid four weeks and nearly a whole month, “Barbie,” directed by Greta Gerwig, has finally stepped aside from its No. 1 spot. Making way for a fresh face in a super-suit, the determined young hero of “Blue Beetle,” portrayed by Xolo Maridueña from “Cobra Kai,” has swooped in.
Directed by Ángel Manuel Soto, this film marks the third out of four DC Universe releases for 2023. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Blue Beetle” is set for an impressive opening weekend, with estimated earnings ranging between $25 to $27 million. The movie raked in $10 million on Friday alone, including the Thursday previews.
Now, let’s put those numbers into perspective. While “Blue Beetle” does hold a slightly smaller opening weekend compared to hits like “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” ($30.1 million), “The Flash” ($55 million), and last year’s “Black Adam” ($67 million), it’s essential to consider the budget. Among these movies, “Blue Beetle” boasts the smallest budget at $104 million.
The journey to the big screen wasn’t without its twists. Initially slated as a direct-to-streaming release for HBO Max (now known as “Max”), the movie’s producer, Zev Foreman, and director Ángel Manuel Soto were determined to give it a theatrical release. Their persistence paid off, leading to a bold big-screen debut.
However, “Blue Beetle” faces its own set of challenges. It enters the scene at a time when superhero films seem to be losing their appeal. DC Studios, under the guidance of co-CEOs Peter Safran and James Gunn, is gearing up for a rejuvenation of the DC Universe.
Unfortunately, “Blue Beetle” is a remnant from the DC Extended Universe era, which struggled to consistently hit box office success even during the superhero craze. The movie’s fate isn’t helped by its middling B+ CinemaScore from audience polls or its mixed reviews from critics.
Adding to the complexity, the timing of “Blue Beetle’s” release didn’t play in its favor. In a year marked by ongoing Hollywood strikes, Comic-Con 2023 took a backseat, with Warner Bros. and many other studios opting out. This meant that the stars of “Blue Beetle” missed out on the opportunity to promote the film at the premiere event.
Can “Blue Beetle” Outshine “Shazam! Fury of the Gods”?
The superhero showdown is on! We’re talking about “Blue Beetle,” the movie that’s aiming to take on the likes of “Shazam! Fury of the Gods.” Now, even though “Blue Beetle” didn’t burst out of the gate as strong as its fellow costumed hero film “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” (which reportedly cost a hefty $125 million to make), there’s still a chance it could catch up and surpass it in the long run. How? Let’s dive into the details.
Remember the roller coaster ride of “Fury of the Gods”? After a big start, it faced a steep 69 percent drop in its second weekend at the box office. From there, it faced a swift downhill journey, partly due to the competition from “John Wick: Chapter 4” and “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.” Now, let’s switch the spotlight to “Blue Beetle.”
It’s got a challenging road ahead, with “Gran Turismo” up next weekend – a movie that could draw a similar crowd with its PG-13 rating and a storyline involving a young man stepping into the wild side of life. But wait, there’s more. Looking ahead to September, the scene is dominated by R-rated action flicks and horror movies, leaving “Blue Beetle” as the sole superhero offering until “The Marvels” swoops in this November.
Now, let’s talk about what makes “Blue Beetle” unique. This movie boasts a primarily Hispanic cast and proudly embraces authentic Mexican cultural identity. This is a huge advantage at the box office. Among Hispanic audiences, there’s a strong tradition of going to the movies, and guess what? They account for around 19 percent of the entire US population, yet they contribute to nearly 30 percent of box office ticket sales.
Talk about a significant impact! According to exit polling, a whopping 40 percent of ticket buyers for “Blue Beetle” were Latino, highlighting the movie’s appeal to a diverse audience.
But here’s the real question: Can “Blue Beetle” outdo “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” in terms of earnings? Even if it manages to surpass the $133 million worldwide gross of “Fury of the Gods,” it still has quite a journey ahead to hit its break-even point, which we estimate to be around $250 million.
But hey, that doesn’t mean it’s all uphill from here. In a world where exclusive content on streaming platforms sometimes turns out to be a bit of a money pit, the decision to give “Blue Beetle” a theatrical release seems to be a smart move for Warner Bros. Discovery. It’s likely to put them in a better position than if the movie had just gone straight to Max.
So, there you have it – the race is on, and “Blue Beetle” is set to prove that it has what it takes to shine bright in the superhero universe, with a unique cultural touch that might just set it apart from the rest.