Just how powerful is Jaime Reyes? Strong enough to finally knock Greta Gerwig’s Barbie off the top of the domestic box office — but don’t get too cocky, as the latest DC movie also underperformed in terms of expectations in its opening weekend.
Blue Beetle opened in the U.S. with $25.4 million, which was enough to unseat Barbie from the top spot after four weekends. (Barbie brought in $21.5 million this weekend, for the curious.) However, that’s not a good number for the movie — it means that it came in under both Shazam! Fury of the Gods ($30.1 million in March), and The Flash ($55 million in June), as well as James Gunn The Suicide Squad, which was released simultaneously in theaters and on streaming due to COVID restrictions. ($26.2 million in August 2021.) It’s not the lowest DC movie in recent memory — last year’s animated DC League of Super-Pets ($23 million in July 2022) and 2020’s Wonder Woman 1984 ($16.7 million, again during COVID restrictions and simultaneous streaming release) earned less — but it’s certainly a notably weak performance.
It’s not a good sign for DC, which has seen every release underperform since March 2022’s The Batman, despite the studios’ best efforts to hype them — remember the pre-release talk of The Flash being one of the best superhero movies ever made? — and comes despite James Gunn teasing that the character would crossover into the new DCU movie verse. All eyes now go towards December’s second Aquaman movie to see if even Jason Momoa can pull Warner Bros. Discovery’s superhero studio out of its current slump.
There are some potential explanations why Blue Beetle — which cost around $104 million to make, and millions more to market, according to experts — did so poorly. Firstly, there’s the fact that it lacked high-profile promotion by the movie’s cast, thanks to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike; it was also released on the same weekend that Southern California was anticipating Tropical Storm Hilary, a fact that Warners emphasized in a note to press.
It’s possible that Blue Beetle will rebound; it currently has a 92% Fresh audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes at time of writing, as well as an A rating on CinemaScrore for under 18 audiences. (With all audiences, it earned a B+ overall.) If there’s one thing the movie makes clear, it’s that underdogs shouldn’t be counted out early. Maybe the same will end up being true of this movie.
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