Xolo Mariduena stars as Jamie Reyes in the Warner Bros. “Blue Beetle”.

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It’s pink vs blue at the box office this weekend.

As “Barbie” continues its historic run in theaters, a little-known superhero named “Blue Beetle” is trying to top the charts this weekend.

With $3.3 million from Thursday night previews, Warner Bros. Discovery’s The latest film based on the DC Comics character is expected to gross between $22 million to $32 million during its domestic opening.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros.’ “Barbie,” which has made $545 million domestically since its release in late July, is expected to add between $17 million and $22 million in its fifth weekend.

“Blue Beetle” arrives in theaters after several DC Comics-based films have flopped at the box office and the studio is going through a rough patch. Major creative system changes.

“The four films released this year are orphans,” said Syracuse University professor and pop culture expert Robert Thompson, referring to the DC titles “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” “The Flash,” “Blue Beetle” and The. The upcoming “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.”

“They’re part of the old universe that’s about to be completely rebooted. [Warner Bros.] They’ve got to promote them, they want them to be big hits, obviously, but they feel like they’re part of the oldies,” Thompson said.

And so far the audience has not come for these films. “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” grossed only $57.6 million domestically, and “The Flash” earned just over $100 million in the US and Canada.

ComScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian said these performances show “apathy” on the part of the audience.

Will ‘Blue Beetle’ take flight or be crushed?

When “Blue Beetle” first entered development in 2018, the character of Jaime Reyes, the man behind the alias, was likely to cross paths with other famous DC heroes. However, business at the studios has been affected, mostly due to the merger between Warner Media and Discovery. The future of the hero in question.

As superhero movies have become more popular in the cultural sphere, much of the appeal of large franchises has been the interconnectedness of the stories. This is the reason Disney’s Marvel Studios was able to introduce obscure comic book characters like Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man and Moon Knight into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and turn them into fan favorites.

Blue Beetle may not be able to generate much excitement at the box office, without the promise of interactions with Justice League veterans like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash or Aquaman.

Sure, standalone, unconnected movies have been a success for DC in the recent past, but they included well-known characters like Batman and the Joker.

“We’re confused now,” said Sean Robbins, principal analyst at BoxOffice.com. “In a world where superheroes aren’t really a novelty anymore, it’s going to be a tough sell for a lot of people.”

Robbins said that “Blue Beetle”, which has a Mexican-American family at its core, could benefit from an influx of Hispanic moviegoers in the same way that Marvel’s “Black Panther” attracted black moviegoers who were not comic book fans. , Ran to see. film.

Critics have praised Xolo Maridueña’s magnetic performance as the lead character and how the film focuses on a hero who is family-oriented and not a lone gunman.

“Blue Beetle” still holds on to some of the archetypes of past superhero movies, including chaotic, repetitive CGI fight sequences, but some say DC will correct course in the next few years, so it’s better to call it Mariduena and Blue Beetle. Should consider keeping on your roster. ,

Dargarabedian said, “A film like ‘Blue Beetle’ could benefit from solid word-of-mouth.” “The decision for the latest DC entry should come after the first three weeks, not the first three days in theaters.”

a new era on the horizon

The biggest battle for “Blue Beetle” is earning enough at the box office to justify its $125 million budget and any additional marketing costs the studio may have incurred.

This figure pales in comparison to the $200 million budget of “The Flash”, which limited its worldwide theatrical run to $268.5 million. After splitting the marketing costs and ticket receipts with the theatres, it won’t be difficult for the film studios either.

Similar concerns hold for “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” which is set to release in December. The budget for the sequel is around $205 million, but has been scrapped. through three different rounds of reshoots Also bore the production cost of the pandemic. While many blockbusters will turn to re-shoots to insert scenes to enhance dialogue or clarify beats within the film, some require multiple rounds of additional photography.

Most of the film’s issues came from conflicting creative directions desired by the studio’s previous heads for the overall DC Extended Universe. And now, with James Gunn and Peter Safran at the helm, the film appears to be undergoing its final series of changes.

Still, Gunn and Safran’s coming era doesn’t guarantee a certain future for DC Studios, Thompson said.

“I don’t think this kind of miracle is going to happen all of a sudden,” he said, despite the pair’s pedigree in the industry, which includes Gunn’s success with three Guardians of the Galaxy films for Marvel. Won’t immediately erase the years of hit or miss movies from DC and the impact they’ve had on audiences.

“That’s pretty optimistic,” Thompson said.


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