The Big Picture
- Blue Beetle, Warner Bros.’ new superhero film, topped the domestic box office on its first day of release, surpassing the long-running success of Barbie.
- Blue Beetle marks the second-to-last installment of the current DC Extended Universe era before it undergoes a reboot in 2025 with Superman: Legacy. The film exists as a mostly standalone story in comparison to Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, which has stronger ties to the series.
- While Barbie continues its impressive box office run and is expected to become the year’s biggest film, Warner Bros. has experienced underperformance with recent superhero films like Black Adam, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and The Flash. Blue Beetle‘s restrained budget does not guarantee a turnaround for the studio’s superhero fare.
After a full month, the domestic box office anointed a new number one film. Warner Bros.’ Blue Beetle topped the chart on its first day of release, sending the studio’s own blockbuster Barbie to second place for the first time in its record-breaking month-long run. Blue Beetle grossed $10 million on opening day, which includes the $3.3 million that it made in Thursday previews. The film is expected to generate around $25 million in its opening weekend, which is on the lower end of scale for superhero movies. That being said, Blue Beetle reportedly cost about half as much as most major tent poles these days, with its budget being around $104 million according to Deadline.
Originally designed as a direct-to-streaming title, Blue Beetle now serves as the second-last installment of a bygone era of the DC Extended Universe, which will be rebooted under the supervision of James Gunn and Peter Safran with Superman: Legacy in 2025. The current DCEU era will officially come to a close with Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom later this year, which has a larger overall connection with the series, while Blue Beetle is a mostly standalone story.
The movie’s opening is in the same range as Birds of Prey some years ago. That film is generally considered to have underperformed at the box office, finishing with less than $100 million domestically and just around $200 million worldwide. And while Barbie surely softened the blow, WB is reeling from three back-to-back superhero films that underperformed — Black Adam, Shazam! Fury of the Gods and The Flash. Blue Beetle certainly isn’t going to be the movie to turn fortunes around for the studio’s superhero fare, despite its restrained budget.
Barbie will take second place with an estimated $20 million fifth weekend, after grossing $6 million on Friday. By Sunday, the film’s running domestic box office haul should hit $566 million. A few days after that, it’ll overtake The Super Mario Bros. Movie’s $574 million lifetime haul to become the year’s biggest film. Barbie should mirror the feat at the global box office as well, where it has grossed over $1.2 billion so far. The movie was released on the same day as the number three movie on the Friday chart: Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer.
Strays Is Being Turned Away by Audiences
Sold as the “Barbenheimer” double-bill, the simultaneous release of these two films has taken the domestic box office to massive new heights over the past month, and it looks like both movies still have plenty of gas in the tank to keep performing for weeks. Oppenheimer added $3 million on its fifth Friday, and should gross around $11 million this weekend, which will take its running domestic total to around $285 million. The movie is also passing $700 million as we speak. It’s still a bigger draw than this week’s other new wide release, the raunchy comedy Strays.
After the success of Jennifer Lawrence-starrer No Hard Feelings some months ago, it seemed like audiences were hungry for R-rated, theatrical studio comedies again. The genre had mostly been relegated to streaming during the pandemic. But like Joy Ride, Strays doesn’t seem to be capitalizing on No Hard Feelings’ performance, and is expected to generate under $9 million in its opening weekend, after grossing $3.4 million on opening day. The top five was rounded out by Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, which added $2.3 million on its third Friday. You can watch our interview with Blue Beetle director Ángel Manuel Soto here, and stay tuned to Collider for more updates.
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