September 25, 2023



“Blue Beetle” Surpasses “Barbie” at Weekend Box Office While “Strays” Falters

“Blue Beetle” Surpasses “Barbie” at Weekend Box Office While “Strays” Falters

‘Blue Beetle’ had one of the weakest domestic debuts among all films in the DC Extended Universe, while ‘Oppenheimer’ has now exceeded $700 million in global earnings.

The inevitable occurred as Barbie’s four-week reign at the box office came to an end, with DC’s superhero film Blue Beetle seizing the top position.

Blue Beetle made its North American debut with an estimated $25.4 million in earnings. However, the extent of the impact from Tropical Storm Hilary on grosses in key areas like Los Angeles, the film’s top market, and the Southwest remains uncertain, but Warner Bros. anticipates a notable impact.

On the international front, the movie generated $18 million across 63 markets, resulting in a global opening of $43.4 million.

It’s comprehensible why the superhero film might be experiencing a bit of disappointment. Blue Beetle not only fell short of initial forecasts, with pre-weekend predictions ranging from $28 million to $32 million, but it also marked one of the weakest openings in the DC Extended Universe, without accounting for inflation, unlike Wonder Woman.

Director Ángel Manuel Soto’s Blue Beetle marks Hollywood’s first live-action superhero film centered on a Latino protagonist, aiming to be a groundbreaking moment for both Latino audiences and representation in front of and behind the camera. Xolo Maridueña stars as the titular character, alongside a cast including Adriana Barraza, Damían Alcázar, Raoul Max Trujillo, Susan Sarandon, George Lopez, Elpidia Carrillo, Bruna Marquezine, Belissa Escobedo, Harvey Guillén, and Becky G.

According to PostTrak, an exit polling service, 39 percent of ticket purchasers were of Latino descent, which is notably higher than the usual 30 percent. The top 10 theaters where it performed well included AMC Burbank in Los Angeles, AMC Empire in New York City, Harkins Estrella Falls in Phoenix, the AMC Grove in Los Angeles, AMC Century City in Los Angeles, AMC Puente Hills in Los Angeles, Santikos Casa Blanca in San Antonio, Cinemark Tinseltown in El Paso, Texas, AMC Orange in Los Angeles, and AMC Disney Springs in Orlando, Florida.

Blue Beetle’s release faced challenges due to the SAG-AFTRA strike, preventing the cast from participating in promotional activities. In terms of audience feedback and demographics, it received a B+ CinemaScore and had a predominantly male audience (66 percent).

Greta Gerwig’s blockbuster film Barbie continued its impressive run, grossing $21.5 million domestically, resulting in a remarkable total of $567.3 million in the United States. It also earned an additional $26 million internationally, bringing its foreign total to $711.9 million and its global box office to $1.279 billion.

In its fifth weekend, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer secured the third position, accumulating $10.6 million.

Universal’s Oppenheimer achieved another significant milestone this weekend by surpassing the $700 million mark globally, making it Christopher Nolan’s fourth highest-grossing film to date. As of Sunday, the movie had earned $285.2 million domestically and an impressive $432.6 million internationally, resulting in a total global earnings of $717.8 million.

Meanwhile, Universal’s comedy film Strays, featuring raunchy canine humor, had a challenging start, opening to an estimated $8.3 million in the domestic box office. This performance landed it in fifth place, trailing behind Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, which took the fourth spot. The final ranking will be confirmed on Monday morning.

Strays, which also received a B+ CinemaScore, joins a trend of R-rated summer comedies that have struggled to perform well at the box office. The voice cast for this film boasts big names like Will Ferrell, Jamie Foxx, Isla Fisher, Randall Park, and Josh Gad. Similar to Blue Beetle, the movie faced challenges in involving its voice cast in promotional activities.

In its third weekend, Mutant Mayhem brought in an estimated $8.4 million, bringing its total domestic earnings to $88.1 million.

In another development, Neon’s highly anticipated re-release of Park Chan-Wook’s 2003 classic, Oldboy, exceeded expectations by grossing an impressive $880,000 from 250 screens during its first five days in the North American box office. This figure already surpasses the entire original run of the film, without adjusting for inflation. It’s on track to become one of the few re-releases in the last five years to cross the $1 million mark, joining the ranks of Studio Ghibli titles, James Cameron’s Avatar, and Titanic. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas in San Francisco, New York City, and Los Angeles were among the top-performing theaters for Oldboy.

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Ralph Calaway