DC is currently enduring a streak of box office failures, seemingly spurred, at least partially, by the announcement of a reboot led by James Gunn and Peter Safran.
The latest in that streak was June's highly-anticipated The Flash, which lost Warner Bros. a historic amount of money and even became one of the biggest flops in Hollywood history on its $200+ million budget.
Blue Beetle Set for DCEU Record Box Office Flop
Box Office Pro published its projections for DC's next big movie, Blue Beetle, ahead of its August 18 theatrical release. And, by all accounts, the Latin-led blockbuster looks placed to continue the blue brand's string of box office flops.
The analyst projects Blue Beetle will open in a range of $12-17 million domestically, leading to a total gross of $27-55 million when all is said and done.
Blue Beetle is one of the DCEU's cheapest movies; its budget of $120 million (according to The Wrap) marks the third-lowest in the franchise, above only Birds of Prey's $82 million and Shazam's $85 million.
These estimates could leave Blue Beetle as the DCEU's lowest box office opening ever, potentially falling below the franchise's all-time low of $16.7 million, which is held by the December 2020 pandemic release of Wonder Woman 1984.
The full list of the DCEU's domestic openings can be seen below, with the majority of Box Office Pro's estimate leaning toward it being the lowest in franchise history:
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - $166 million
- Suicide Squad - $133.7 million
- Man of Steel - $116.6 million
- Wonder Woman - $103.3 million
- Justice League - $93.8 million
- Aquaman - $67.9 million
- Black Adam - $67 million
- The Flash - $55 million
- Shazam! - $53.5 million
- Birds of Prey - $33 million
- Shazam! Fury of the Gods - $30.1 million
- The Suicide Squad - $26.2 million
- Wonder Woman 1984 - $16.7 million
- Blue Beetle - $12-17 million (estimated)
Looking at the long-term total, estimates are bleak for Blue Beetle, with a $27-55 million haul placing the movie as one of the DCEU's biggest flops, even worse than its latest string of failures.
The significant majority of Box Office Pro's $28 million estimate range has Blue Beetle taking home the lowest domestic box office in DCEU history, with the complete list of total figures below:
- Wonder Woman - $412.6 million
- Aquaman - $335 million
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - $330.3 million
- Suicide Squad - $325 million
- Man of Steel - $291 million
- Justice League - $229 million
- Black Adam - $168.2 million
- Shazam - $140.4 million
- The Flash - $107.2 million
- Birds of Prey - $84.2 million
- Shazam! Fury of the Gods - $57.6 million
- The Suicide Squad - $55.8 million
- Wonder Woman 1984 - $46.8 million
- Blue Beetle - $27-55 million (estimated)
What Blue Beetle Flopping Could Mean for Aquaman 2
Blue Beetle will round out DC to an even four flops in a row, three of which have come since the announcement of a reboot. With Aquaman 2 set to be the final movie in the DCEU, it now appears likely to suffer the same fate.
Warner Bros. has clearly had high expectations for the movie based on the billion-dollar gross of 2019's Aquaman. The movie was granted a huge $205 million budget and has now been through three rounds of reshoots in order to get it to its latest state after some worrying test screenings panned the sequel.
Between the lack of interest in the DCEU as it nears its end, the controversy surrounding Amber Heard, and the negative buzz around the movie, Aquaman 2 appears likely to see a massive decline from its predecessor's box office.
Looking even further beyond Aquaman 2, one has to wonder whether James Gunn's reboot will be able to salvage DC. It's becoming ever-clearer that significant damage has been done to the blue brand, leaving the question of if yet another change in direction will be enough to draw in an audience.
Why There's Still Hope for Blue Beetle's Box Office
While estimates may have Blue Beetle set for domestic disaster, the superhero blockbuster may find success abroad with the Latin audience. Xolo Maridueña's Jaime Reyes will be the first leading Latin superhero from a major studio, which is bound to attract some audience due to the untapped market.
Generally speaking, few were exactly expecting Blue Beetle to become a massive box office success, especially after The Flash. After all, the movie is yet another piece of a dying universe, holds no major stars who will bring in an audience, stars a lesser-known superhero, and has had some rather lackluster marketing.
Blue Beetle hits theaters on August 18.