Blue Beetle opened with just $25.4 million, only beating the pandemic stricken Wonder Woman 1984 for DCEU opening weekend gross.
In our predictions from Thursday we posed the question: can Blue Beetle narrowly defeat Barbie? The comments were filled with people who found the question preposterous, saying no way Barbie falls to the Beetle, however it appears our prediction of $25million for Beetle was pretty spot on! Although Blue Beetle will have the distinction of becoming the first movie to knock Barbie off her perch, it isn’t all good news for the first mainstream Latin superhero. Opening with just $25.4 million, that opening represents the second worst opening in the entire DC Extended Universe. Technically Wonder Woman 1984 did open worse with $16.7 million, but that opening has a massive asterisk next to it as that opened day and date with HBO Max and was during a time when barely anyone was going to movie theaters because of the pandemic. It has just been a steady slide for the DC brand and we have Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom still to come. James Gunn is going to have to make the best Superman film of all time if he plans on washing away the bad taste the DC Extended Universe has left in fans mouths.
As for Blue Beetle, the film seems to be dividing audiences between those who have found it fun and those who felt it was the same old superhero drivel we have seen a million times before. With a B+ cinemascore, the same score Shazam! Fury of the Gods saw earlier this year when it dropped 69% in its second week, and Gran Turismo opening next week, I expect this one to have a similarly large drop in its second weekend. The real question will be if the new DC regime sticks with this hero for future adventures. I feel like Warner Bros and the new heads of DC have done a good job in promoting these films before they hit theaters and then when they under-perform, everyone is pretty tight lipped. For The Flash, it made sense to promote the film before it opened and then write off their troubled main star once that one went sideways. For Blue Beetle, there may be enough to salvage with the talent assembled for this potential franchise that we may see Xolo Maridueña’s Jaime Reyes back on the big screen at some point in the future.
For the first time in her theatrical run, Barbie is playing runner up at the box office with an additional $21.5 million added to its massive $567.2 million domestic total. Earlier this week the Greta Gerwig starring film became the highest grossing film ever at the domestic box office for Warner Bros. We all knew Barbie was going to be big, but how big it has become is incredibly impressive. I think it helps that the movie is actually good! When it comes to Blue Beetle we are seeing a lot of stories about how the movie is important because of its latin representation, and I don’t disagree with that, but it felt like they forgot to make a good movie to go along with that representation. For Barbie, the film has seen its fair share of headlines about the content of the film, but what made those powerful story lines resonate so much was that the movie put forth its message while also making a highly entertaining movie to go along with it. It also helps that Barbie was a stand alone film, there was no mid credit tease to further adventures, it was a single complete film. I am sure we will get a sequel at some point, but I get the feeling that it won’t be until Greta Gerwig and her writing (and life) partner Noah Baumbach come up with a worthy story to tell.
Third place belongs to, for my money, one of the best movies ever made with Oppenheimer, which saw an additional $10.6 million added to its $285.2 million domestic total. As I have said before, that number would be impressive for any movie let alone a 3 hour biopic that is 98% dialogue. The film did lose a lot of its big theater chain based IMAX screens this weekend to Blue Beetle, of course true IMAX theaters have extended the films run as fans continue to make hours long treks to see the film in the best possible way. What makes Oppenheimer so great is that every time you see it (and I have seen it three times so far), you discover something new. For me, the last time I saw it, I put my focus on the supporting cast and noticed how insanely perfect every single person was in this movie especially David Krumholtz and Alden Ehrenreich. I genuinely hope we see this movie and everyone who contributed to it heavily recognized come awards season.
Rounding out the top five is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem in fourth with an additional $8.4 million added to its pretty solid $88.1 million domestic total while fifth place belongs to the new R rated comedy Strays which seems to have missed the mark with a $8.3 million opening. The Will Ferrell/ Jamie Foxx fronted film has a small by today’s standards $46 million budget, so if the film can generate decent word of mouth it could leg out for a few weeks. I think the real play will be when this movie hits home video. Parents may be looking for a funny R rated comedy after they put their kids to bed and R rated talking dogs could be just what the doctor ordered!
The remainder of the top ten are your holdover titles with Meg 2: The Trench adding $6.7 million to its $66.5 million domestic total, while that number may feel low, the shark sequel is actually cleaning up at the worldwide box office and I wouldn’t be surprised if a third film is announced at some point. Seventh place belongs to the quite excellent A24 horror film Talk To Me with $3.15 million. The good news for fans of this little Australian hit is that there is already a prequel film in the can with a sequel film announced shortly after the film recouped its $4.5 million budget. Eighth place belongs to Haunted Mansion with $3 million added to its abysmal $58.8 million domestic total while Mission: Impossible- Dead Reckoning Part One never seemed to fully recover from Barbenheimer as it adds $2.72 million to its domestic total of $164.6 million, roughly $40 million short of Fallout’s $204.3 million domestic total at the same time in their respective runs. Rounding out the top ten is The Last Voyage of the Demeter with $2.5 million while right on its heels is Sound of Freedom with $2.45 million. It is possible when final numbers are calculated, Freedom and Demeter switch spots.
Outside the top would see the Wesley Snipes fronted Back on the Strip pull in a little over $460,000 on nearly 1,320 screens while Neon’s re-release of the movie with the most insane (and awesome) ending that I have ever seen, Oldboy, would grab nearly a million dollars at just 245 locations since it re-released 5 days ago. For metal fans, Metallica would launch their M72 World Tour Live in theaters for just one day (Friday) at 673 locations for a $480,000 total.
What do you make of Blue Beetle’s underwhelming debut? Did you think it deserved better or do you feel that opening is about right? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to take our weekly poll where we ask: What is your Favorite Pre-Oppenheimer Cillian Murphy Movie?