Warner Bros. Discovery and its subordinary DC Studios are currently in the era they’d most likely want to forget as soon as possible. In the last three years, the only DC movie that was a box-office success was Matt Reeves’ ‘The Batman.’ The last three DCEU movies, ‘Black Adam,’ ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods,’ and ‘The Flash,’ have all suffered box-office failures, which sparked the question: Does the same fate awaits the next, second-to-last DCEU movie ‘Blue Beetle.’ Let’s see how much ‘Blue Beetle’ needs to earn to avoid becoming another box-office flop for DC.
The estimated production budget of ‘Blue Beetle’ is reportedly around $120 million. With all the additional and marketing costs, which are officially unknown, but assumed, the movie would need to make at least $250 million, perhaps even $300 million, just to break even without any profit. ‘Blue Beetle’ has one mitigating circumstance due to the fact that its budget is much lower than the budgets of ‘Black Adam’ and ‘The Flash.’ However, ‘Blue Beetle’ would still need to outgross ‘The Flash’ just to break even. The fact that ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods,’ which was filmed for $125 million, managed to gross only a bit over its production budget ($133 million) is certainly a red flag, and it casts doubts that ‘Blue Beetle’ would even break even, let alone be profitable.
While DCEU movies like ‘Birds of Prey,’ ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ and ‘The Suicide Squad’ can say that the pandemic of COVID-19 sabotaged their theatrical run and box-office results, we can’t say that excuse can be taken into consideration since some other WB movies like ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ and ‘Dune’ were both commercially successful, even for the pandemic period. With the release of ‘Black Adam,’ it became obvious that the mainstream audience truly lost any interest in DCEU movies and the latest two movies, ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ and ‘The Flash’ only deepened those box-office wounds.
How much will ‘Blue Beetle’ earn during the opening weekend?
When we are predicting box-office results, two things are important to have in mind: the opening weekend result and the drop during the second weekend. For example, ‘Black Adam’ opened with $67 million domestically and suffered a 59% drop in its second weekend. This would actually be a decent opening for ‘Blue Beetle’ since its budget is twice as lower than ‘Black Adam’s.’
However, the second-weekend drops are different pair of shoes. After the opening weekend, which is always the strongest, every movie waits to see how it’s going to do the weekend after. If a drop is below 50%, that is considered a successful second weekend. If it’s between 50-60%, that’s “not great, not terrible,” but anything more than a 60% drop is considered a failure which would ultimately put a lot of harm on the final result.
Taking its budget into consideration, the best-case scenario for ‘Blue Beetle’ would be to gross between 50-70 million dollars during the opening weekend and hope that the drop won’t be over 55%. ‘The Flash’ opened up with $55 million, but its second-weekend drop was 72.5%, which was an absolute catastrophe after which it became obvious that ‘The Flash’ couldn’t recover.
If we go back to 2019, we remember that the original ‘Shazam’ movie opened up with $53 million, while its sequel opened up with only $30 million. The second-weekend drop for the first ‘Shazam’ was a solid 54%, while the sequel suffered a 69% drop. In the end, the original Shazam grossed $366 million worldwide, which is the amount that granted it a sequel, and that’s also the amount that ‘Blue Beetle’ would probably take right now if offered, given everything going around DCEU. Unfortunately, things aren’t looking good, and we can only wait and see if ‘Blue Beetle’ will be able to escape that series of DC flops.
‘Blue Beetle’ is in a thankless position since it’s releasing at the worst possible time!
Superhero movies are all considered blockbuster movies that are usually expected to pull off a decent result at the box office, regardless if it’s a Batman movie or a movie about some C-list character who was never seen in the live-action medium before.
As the superhero genre blossomed at the beginning of this century, especially after 2008 when Marvel kicked off its MCU and DC released ‘The Dark Knight,’ which was the first superhero movie ever to gross over a billion dollars, it has become a very lucrative job for studios to make superhero movies, even with less known characters, such as Guardians of the Galaxy.
‘Blue Beetle’ was originally announced as the streaming movie that would be released exclusively on HBOMax, along with ‘Batgirl.’ With DC Studios’s leadership change, ‘Batgirl’ was ultimately canceled, and ‘Blue Beetle’ was “promoted” to have a regular theatrical release. The executives probably thought that the character of Blue Beetle was popular enough that the movie would bring more profit via regular box office, but that was long before anyone expected that ‘Black Adam’ and ‘The Flash’ could be such commercial failures.
Some fans will say that these last few DCEU movies are failing because of the announcement of the reboot franchise. Because why would someone buy a ticket for a movie that’s set in the dying franchise? That might be true in some way, but not entirely. It hurts to say that DCEU was in a lot of mess in the last few years, and the box-office successes of ‘Joker’ and ‘The Batman,’ which are both separate from DCEU, showed that the audience lost interest.
These last few DCEU movies might’ve pulled off better results if James Gunn waited with its reboot announcement, but we aren’t sure things would be much different if he did. It’s enough to say that not even the return of Michael Keaton as Batman couldn’t have gotten DC fans to watch the movie in theaters.
While we were looking only at numbers in this article, we’ll now say that ‘Blue Beetle’ has a chance to be a really good movie. And no matter if it’s part of the soon-to-end franchise, we think the fans should watch the movie because of it and not because of the franchise. In the past, critically solid and good movies suffered commercial failures, but if ‘Blue Beetle’ turns out to be a good movie (and we believe it will), it surely wouldn’t deserve to be branded a commercial flop.
Directed by Angel Manuel Soto and starring Xolo Maridueña in the title role, ‘Blue Beetle’ is set to be released on August 18, 2023.
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