In case you missed it, and by looks of official box office receipts, you did…Blue Beetle ended its theatrical run burning in apogee. The latest DC + Warner Bros comic book movie wrapped up its time in theaters at $128 million–worldwide.
This is a massive disappointment for a movie that didn’t deserve that kind of pummeling. People (who can prove) they saw Blue Beetle in theaters left with emotions ranging from surprise to gratefulness. Essentially, people didn’t think it would be as good as it was.
The star was George Lopez in spades. The dude was straight-up funny, and you know you laughed in that movie. And it’s easy to believe that no one thought Xolo Maridueña was going to be as believable as Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle–but he was. Yet, the barren wasteland at the box office left in the wake of this film doesn’t show those feels.
Thor: Love and Thunder is thanking the gods of Asgard that pile of crap didn’t get beat into submission to the tune as Blue Beetle did. When the movie opened, it made $18 million internationally. That fart-and-fall-down moment was the absolute worst opening in DCEU / DCU history. Think about the blunders, foibles, and mishaps provided by Warner Bros., and that was the worst? Really?
Worse than Shazam: Fury of the Gods. More miserable than Black Adam. Casting less of a shadow than Josstice League. And struck fewer fans than Wonder Woman: 1984. Seriously?!
Blue Beetle earned a higher critical consensus than Zack Snyder’s Justice League–that’s 78% vs. 72%. (Admittedly, Blue Beetle was nowhere near that good, but on with the post.) Yet, the response of this film caused it to stink like its distant scarab cousin, the “dung beetle.” In case you aren’t familiar with entomology, that means “sh!t.”
That is the regretful fate provided to the film that was supposed to be the curtain raiser–not the debut, but the opening act–to the DCU. And because of the ham-handed professionalism of Warner Bros. and the lackluster, more-fake-than-Taylor-Swift-as-a-real-football-fan fans of the DC Universe, Blue Beetle will always be stained. This movie, which James Gunn has blessed, has a permanent middle finger as its stamp of approval on the DVD steel book.
Don’t want to take blame for that azure turd? Let’s look into that.
Did Warner Bros. Give Blue Beetle a Chance?
Let’s be clear: Although the WAG and SAG-AFTRA strikes were necessary for these brilliant writers to get what they deserved, it sucked for plenty of developmental and post-produced movies. Blue Beetle is certainly among the latter.
Did you notice how little marketing went into preparing fans for this film? There was more activity on a fill-in-the-blank exam from a Kardashian than there was in the marketplace for Blue Beetle.
That was because of the strike, not because Warner Bros. sucks at what they do. This is a studio that’s been around since 1923. They’re not bereft of talent or skill. They know how to market better than most, but when it comes to DC Comics properties, they drop the ball with a thud!
Once regulations let up, Warner Bros. did what they could. However, because it was a rush job, they did crap like this on the fabled steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Those are the steps Rocky skyrocketed his boxing career from, and now, it’s a metaphor for DC fans walking over the corpse of Blue Beetle?
You may have noticed but there was a Burger King “Blue Whopper” marketing campaign to help move the movie along. Did you know it was a fan-made campaign? As in, someone thought WB wasn’t doing enough, so why not add nasty food coloring to a sesame-seed bun?
If that was at BK, I would pass on having it my way. Not even Papa Smurf would look at that blue burger and think, “Damn girl. That’s looking Smurfalicious!” Warner Bros. didn’t do enough. Even The Flash got a nice marketing push, and have mercy, that movie needed all the help it could get. (The baby CGI?! C’mon!)
Did Fans Give Blue Beetle a Chance?
“No.” That’s it. End of post. Fans have been asking for better movies from the Warner Bros. and DC tandem, which has been almost fear of anaphylactic shock. Like, if Warner Bros. put out a great movie, someone would have to give David Zaslav an Epi-Pen. Since James Wan shocked the world with Aquaman, the last remnants of the beleaguered DCEU have put on a fire sale on success.
You can’t blame “Blue Beetle wasn’t that well-known as a comic property.” Please? The Guardians of the Galaxy were a tier-three or -four gaggle of comic misfits before they were placed on screen. Now, you would think they were Stan Lee’s silver bullet. (And, not for nothing, but who took the chance and put them on film?)
The opportunity was there for sure. Look how the global Black community embraced Black Panther. It was beautiful to see little kids who never saw a hero who looked like them show up and dominate. Blue Beetle was the first Hispanic-led cast and hero. What happened? With Lopez and Maridueña were Damián Alcázar (Narcos, The Chronicles of Narnia), Adriana Barraza (Babel, Rambo: Last Blood), Harvey Guillén (What We Do in The Shadows, Strays), Elpidia Carrillo (Mayans M.C., Seven Pounds), and Belissa Escobedo (Hocus Pocus 2, Don’t Look Deeper).
Those were not slouches! Maybe Warner Bros. should have hired Rita Moreno, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, and Edward James Olmos? Shoot. Susan Sarandon was the key antagonist. C’mon. The acting pedigree was there and they did their job.
And considering Zaslav, the man knows DC Comics’ IP is a limitless treasure trove of opportunity for Warner Bros. Those characters and backstories are hypnotizing. The best scribes of DC Comics — names like Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Frank Miller, Tom King, Alan Moore, Gail Simone, Neil Gaiman, Alan Grant, Jeph Loeb — are magical minds and have established decades of potential that no one has tapped.
James Gunn and Peter Safran understand they are doing more than creating something fun with DC Studios. In fact, Gunn doubled down on his affinity for Blue Beetle calling Jaime Reyes “the first DCU character.” Maybe it should have been released straight to MAX?
The point is this: There is truth and promise in this character. DC fans will have to get used to the scarab and eventual introduction of DC Comics’ Tier-Two fave Booster Gold. He’s going to be around for a minute, so perhaps quit comparing DC Studios to what we had or didn’t have and just enjoy the ride of where it’s going.
We have James effing Gunn at the helm! Let’s celebrate what’s to come and get back to the movies. You know? Because that’s what fans do.