‘Blue Beetle’ $3.3M, ‘Strays’ $1.1M In Thursday Previews – Deadline

Saturday AM: Even though this weekend’s new entries, Warner Bros/DC’s Blue Beetle and Universal’s Strays, aren’t coming in at the top of their projections with respective lower weekends of $25M and $8.5M, the overall health of the theatrical business further bolstered by the fifth weekends of Barbie ($20.5M) and Oppenheimer ($11M) is fueling an overall estimated $100.7M weekend which is 28% above August’s same frame a year ago, which was a dry spell, led by CrunchyRoll’s Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero ($21.1M). It remains to be seen what the toll will be on Sunday in Los Angeles from the onset of Hurricane Hilary rains.

After making $10M yesterday, Blue Beetle still has Saturday left which could deliver more business. Yesterday, according to ComScore, more kids returned to school with those K-12 educational institutions on break dropping from 70% last Friday to 46% yesterday. Why the under-delivery here on Blue Beetle? Even at $30M that isn’t a big enough start for this $104M production. The movie gets a B+ CinemaScore overall, however, on Comscore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak, the movie gets a 90% with Latino and Hispanic moviegoers who led the charge at 38% to Caucasians’ 27% turnout and 75% grade.

Why wasn’t this movie even strutted at San Diego Comic-Con? In a perfect world without a SAG-AFTRA strike, it would have been with Cobra Kai star Xolo Maridueña and Blue Beetle‘s cast spreading the gospel on the film, much like Gal Gadot and the first Wonder Woman. There was buzz that Warners had Hall H co-booked with Legendary for a Blue Beetle-Dune: Part Two combo, but still, even sans stars, how much does it cost for a studio to rent two movie auditoriums, grab free popcorn and soda, and put the director up in a hotel for two nights in order to show the movie off for fans? Warners opted to focus more of their marketing on Latino and Hispanic marketplace (during early August, iSpot saw that Univision was pulling in a bulk of the ad impressions on Blue Beetle at 11%

Friday Midday: Early numbers show Warner Bros/DC’s Blue Beetle with $9.8M today and a $25M opening at 3,871. This is higher than what others are showing given the expectation that Latino and Hispanic audiences will show up tonight and during matinees. Remember that Blue Beetle has all the PLFs, Imax and premium upcharges working in its favor.

Warners can boast second place in the fifth weekend of Barbie at 4,003 theaters with a $6M Friday, -40% from a week ago, and a $20M-$21M 3-day, -39%. On the high end, Barbie gets to $566.7M by EOD Sunday.

Third and fourth respectively go to Universal with Oppenheimer and Strays. Oppenheimer at 3,321 theaters will see $3M in its fifth Friday, -40%, for $10.9M 3-day, -42% and running total of $285.5M — the Christopher Nolan film will soon overtake Inception‘s domestic of $293M. Bad news, the $46M production, R-rated Strays, is coming in at $8.5M at 3,223 after a $3.5M Friday.

Blue Beetle has an audience score on RT of 93%, while Strays isn’t currently registering one.

BLUE BEETLE, Xolo Mariduena as Blue Beetle, 2023. © Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection

Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection

RelishMix says about the online chatter that it’s “mainly positive as fans welcome a fresh superhero face — with Xolo Maridueña, a beloved figure from Cobra Kai bringing heat. While many are comping iconic characters like Spider-Man and Iron Man, they’re also praising the film’s cultural depth with some drawing young parallels to Spy Kids and Power Rangers.”

© Universal Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

On Strays, RelishMix notes “Audiences are barking about Strays as the convo tracks raucous and mixed — comping to Sausage Party with nods for the film’s originality featuring foul-mouthed live-action dogs. Enthusiasts argue that it’s about time the genre takes bold strides, pushing boundaries and redefining comedic tastes. Snarks question the nuances, debating whether it’s genuine innovation or just a fleeting experiment. Regardless of its ultimate place amidst comedies, Strays has sparked a passionate debate.”

Paramount’s third weekend of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is at $2.2M for Friday, -45% from a week ago, a $8.4M 3-day, -45%, for a running total of $88.1M by EOD Sunday.

Friday AM: Even though kids are heading back to school, the summer box office isn’t giving up yet, and there’s a chance we could near $4 billion thanks to the final act power of Barbie and Oppenheimer. Warner Bros is hoping the first Latino superhero movie, Blue Beetle, will stoke its core moviegoers; that DC title seeing $3.3M last night in previews that began at 2PM from 3,400 locations, while Universal is looking to give guys something to laugh at after Oppenheimer with the R-rated bawdy doggy comedy, Strays, grossing $1.1M from showtimes that began at 5PM at 2,700 theaters.

Blue Beetle is expected to take the weekend with $28M-$32M, the hope being that Latino and Hispanic moviegoers fuel it with walk-up business. The Angel Manuel Soto directed movie is expected to take No. 1 away from Warner Bros.’ Barbie in her fifth weekend, that Mattel doll expected to stay beautiful with $22M-$24M.

Blue Beetle‘s previews aren’t that far from Shazam: Fury of the Gods which did $3.4M before making $11.7M on its first Friday, $30.1M over three-days. That DC sequel, which cost $125M, was a major disappointment, its wattage deafened by the news of the new DC universe that James Gunn and Peter Safran are building. While a $30M start for Blue Beetle would be notable for a Latino-Hispanic movie –a great comp here is Alita: Battle Angel which opened to $28.5M ($37.2M over 4)–that opening for this DC superhero likely won’t trigger a sequel. Blue Beetle cost a reported net of $104M, and was originally conceived for HBO Max, but then the studio pivoted to theatrical after a solid test screening. Reviews haven’t been shabby for Blue Beetle at 79% certified fresh, higher than Shazam 2‘s 49% Rotten, but lower than Shazam‘s 90%. Shazam received an A CinemaScore, the sequel a B+. Shazam Fury of the Gods died at the domestic box office back in the spring with a $57.6M final.

Strays is expected to do in the teens; critics hate the comedy already at 56% Rotten (vs. Uni’s pre-pandemic August 2019 Good Boys which had 80% fresh). Strays‘ preview figure is under that of Good Boy’ $2.1M which turned into an $8.3M Friday, and $21.4M 3-day.

Among titles in regular release, Barbie made $3.8M yesterday at 4,178 theaters, -15% from Wednesday, for a running total through four weeks of $545.7M.

Uni’s Oppenheimer was second with $2M on Thursday at 3,761, -20%, for a four-week running total of $$274.6M. The Christopher Nolan-directed 3-hour drama looks to do another $12M.

Paramount/Nickelodeon/Point Grey’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem grossed $1.3M at 3950, -17% for a running two-week and two day total of $79.7M.

Fourth is Warner’s The Meg 2: The Trench did $1M yesterday, -18% from Wednesday, for a running two week cume of $59.8M.

A24’s Talk to Me was fifth with an estimated $600K at 2,379 theaters, -16%, for a $33.8M three-week running total.

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