It had to happen sometime. After ruling the box office roost for four weekends, Barbie is falling to second place as DC’s superhero pic Blue Beetle takes the top spot.
Blue Beetle is on course to open to $25 million to $27 million in North America after earning $10 million Friday, including $3.3 million in previews. It remains to be seen what impact the looming hurricane has on grosses in Los Angeles, the movie’s top market, and other parts of the area.
It’s understandable why the superhero pic may be feeling a little blue. Not only is Blue Beetle coming in behind expectations — heading into the weekend, tracking had suggested $28 million to $32 million — but also it is looking at one of the lowest openings ever for a title in the DC Extended Universe, not adjusted for inflation.
Director Ángel Manuel Soto’s Blue Beetle is Hollywood’s first live-action superhero film built around a Latino protagonist and hopes to be a breakthrough movie for Latino audiences and for Latino representation in front of and behind the camera. Xolo Maridueña stars in the titular role opposite Adriana Barraza, Damían Alcázar, Raoul Max Trujillo, Susan Sarandon, George Lopez, Elpidia Carrillo, Bruna Marquezine, Belissa Escobedo, Harvey Guillén and Becky G.
According to exit polling service PostTrak, 40 percent of Friday’s ticket buyers were Latino (usually, it might be 30 percent).
Blue Beetle‘s release has been hampered by the SAG-AFTRA strike, which means Soto’s cast couldn’t participate in the publicity tour. In terms of audience reaction and demo breakdowns, it earned a B+ CinemaScore, and played heavily male (66 percent).
Barbie is looking at a fifth-weekend gross of $20 million to $21 million or more in North America, followed by Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer in third place with $11 million. From Universal, Oppenheimer will achieve another major milestone this weekend when clearing the $700 million mark globally to become Nolan’s fourth-biggest film ever.
Universal’s raunchy canine comedy Strays is pacing to open to a bark-less $8.5 million, putting the pic in a close battle with Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem for fourth place.
Strays, which likewise earned a B+ CinemaScore, is the latest in a string of R-rated summer comedies to fall flat at the box office. The star-packed voice cast includes Will Ferrell, Jamie Foxx, Isla Fisher, Randall Park and Josh Gad. Similar to Blue Beetle, the pic hasn’t been able to include the voice cast in publicity plans.
Numbers will be updated Sunday morning.