‘Blue Beetle’ Beats ‘Barbie’ With Soft $25M-$27M Opening, ‘Strays’ Gets Lost

It had to happen sometime. After ruling the box office roost for four weekends, Barbie fell to second place as DC’s superhero pic Blue Beetle took the top spot.

Blue Beetle opened to an estimated $25 million to $26 million in North America. It remains to be seen what impact Hurricane Hilary will have on Sunday grosses in Los Angeles, the movie’s top market, and other parts of the Southwest impacted by the storm.

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It’s understandable why the superhero pic may be feeling a little blue. Not only did Blue Beetle coming in behind expectations — heading into the weekend, tracking had suggested $28 million to $32 million — but it also posted one of the lowest openings among any 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).

Greta Gerwig’s ruaway blockbuster 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 $10.6 million. The latter

From Universal, Oppenheimer clearing another milestone this weekend when crossing the $700 million mark globally to become Nolan’s fourth-biggest film ever. The film finished Sunday with a domestic total of $285.2 million and a huge $432.6 million overseas for a global total of $717.8 million.

Universal’s raunchy canine comedy Strays had trouble finding its bark in opening to an estimated $8.3 million domestically. That was only good enough for a fifth-place finish behind Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem for fourth place. The final order will be determined Monday morning.

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.

Mutant Mayhem, now in its third weekend, earned an estimated $8.4 million for a domestic total of $88.1 million.

Aug. 20, 7:30 a.m.: Updated with revised estimates.

The original version of this story was published on Aug. 19 at 8:03 am.

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