‘Blue Beetle’ Tops Box Office, But Has Little Bite With $25.4 Million Debut

Blue Beetle (Credit: Warner Bros./DC)

Blue Beetle ended Barbie‘s reign at the domestic box office, but the DC superhero saga showed little strength with its estimated $25.4 million debut, Comscore figures showed.

The Warner Bros. release from director Angel Manuel Soto came in below projections, which had it opening in the $30 million range.

The superhero adventure played in 3,871 locations for a per theater average of $6,562, per Comscore. The film had a reported production budget of over $100 million, plus millions more for marketing, and will need to flex super-strength to turn a profit.

Blue Beetle centers on recent college graduate Jaime Reyes, who is selected by an alien scarab to become its symbiotic host, changing Jamie’s destiny as he becomes the superhero known as Blue Beetle.

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Los Angeles native Xolo Maridueña stars in the title role. The mostly-Latino cast also includes Bruna Marquezine, Damián Alcázar, Adriana Barraza, Susan Sarandon, Harvey Guillén, and Becky G.

The film’s box-office fortunes may have been hurt by the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, which prevented the cast from promoting the project. Tropical Storm Hilary, which is bearing down on Southern California, may have also kept some moviegoers at home as they prepared for the storm’s Sunday arrival.

Overseas, Blue Beetle added another $18.0 million from 64 markets, bringing its global total to $43.4 million.

Unfortunately, that’s one of the lowest openings in the history of the DC Cinematic Universe, Variety reported. It’s even worse than the disappointing debut of DC’s Shazam: Fury of the Gods, which opened in March with $30.1 million.

Critics described Blue Beetle as having “plenty of humor and heart,” and gave it a positive 76 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. Audience reviews were in line, with the film receiving a “B+” CinemaScore from moviegoers.

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Elsewhere at the box office, Barbie slipped to second place with $21.5 million from 4,003 locations. The Warner Bros. film from director Greta Gerwig has earned $567.2 million in the U.S. and Canada since it opened on July 21. Through Sunday, the film has banked a massive global total of $1.2 billion.

In third place, Universal reports Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer — now in its fifth weekend — brought in another $10.6 million. The film has a domestic total through Sunday of $285.2 million and an incredible global haul of $717.8 million.

Fourth place went to Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. Now in its third weekend, the film earned another $8.4 million. To date, it has a domestic total of $88.1 million and a global haul of $118.4 million, with major markets yet to open.

Strays got mauled by the competition, and opened in fifth place after fetching only $8.3 million, per Comscore.

The R-rated comedy from director Josh Greenbaum centers on an abandoned dog that teams up with other strays to get revenge on his former owner.

The film features the voices of Will Ferrell and Jamie Foxx. The all-star cast also includes Will Forte, Sofia Vergara, Isla Fisher, Rob Riggle, Randall Park, Josh Gad, Brett Gelman, Harvey Guillen, Jamie Demetriou.