The superhero universe has witnessed a changing of the guard as the DC superhero film “Blue Beetle” surged to the forefront of weekend box office sales, raking in an estimated $25.4 million. This impressive feat ended the month-long reign of “Barbie,” which had dominated theaters with its pink-hued charm.
While “Barbie” relinquished its box office crown, its popularity remains steadfast. Greta Gerwig’s film, which recently secured the title of the highest-grossing Warner Bros. release domestically, continued to captivate audiences, earning $21.5 million in its fifth weekend. With its North American earnings reaching a staggering $567.3 million, “Barbie” remains a cinematic force to be reckoned with.
Meanwhile, the cinematic landscape also saw another formidable contender. Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” garnered $10.6 million in its fifth week, solidifying its place as an enduring hit despite never achieving the No. 1 weekend box office slot. With a domestic total of $285.2 million, “Oppenheimer” has become the highest-earning non-No. 1 film in box office history. The movie’s overseas performance is equally impressive, with a global gross of approximately $717.8 million as of Sunday.
“Blue Beetle” made its debut on the lower end of already-modest expectations, marking one of the less substantial openings for a DC Comics film. Originally intended for streaming release, the decision to bring “Blue Beetle,” featuring Xolo Maridueña as the first leading Latino superhero in the DC universe, to theaters during the late summer period was a strategic move. Typically characterized by low box office activity, this time proved opportune for “Blue Beetle.” The film, with a production cost of around $105 million, stands as the last release under the earlier DC Studios regime, now led by James Gunn and Peter Safran.
Helmed by director Ángel Manuel Soto and penned by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, “Blue Beetle” garnered favorable reviews, surpassing the reception of DC’s three previous releases this year (“The Flash,” “Black Adam,” and “Shazam! Fury of the Gods”). Enjoying a 76% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, “Blue Beetle” uniquely showcases a Hispanic cast in a comic-book film.
Despite its strengths, the film encountered challenges, including the unexpected tenacity of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” at the box office. Additionally, Southern California’s preparations for Hurricane Hilary created potential disruptions in ticket sales, particularly in the Los Angeles region. Further complicating matters, “Blue Beetle” was unable to leverage its cast for promotional activities due to the ongoing actors’ strike.
In the midst of this cinematic showdown, the R-rated comedy “Strays” found itself with a muted impact. The film, featuring voice talents like Will Ferrell and Jamie Foxx, secured fifth place with $8.4 million in earnings. Given the recent struggles of comedies in theaters, “Strays” faced an uphill battle, further exacerbated by the unavailability of its star-studded cast for promotional efforts.
The final box office figures are slated for release on Monday, providing a comprehensive overview of this weekend’s entertainment landscape.