Box Office: ‘Blue Beetle’ Beating ‘Barbie’ With $25M-$27M, ‘Strays’ Needs Louder Bark

Box Office: ‘Blue Beetle’ Beating ‘Barbie’ With $25M-$27M, ‘Strays’ Needs Louder Bark

It had to happen sometime. After ruling the box office for four weekends, Barbie is falling to second-place 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, behind expectations (heading into the weekend, tracking had suggested $28 million to $32 million). The pic grossed an estimated $10 million on Friday, including $3.3 million in previews.

It’s understandable why the movie may feel a little blue. While it is toppling Barbie from the top spot domestically, it could score one of the lowest openings ever for a title in the DC Extended Universe, not adjusted for inflation.

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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.

The movie’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 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.