Just what we needed: another superhero movie focused more on filling a diversity quota than actual entertainment.
Initially conceived as a streaming-exclusive production, “Blue Beetle” — starring Xolo Maridueña in the title role — found its place as the penultimate chapter of the former era of the DC Extended Universe, which is set to undergo a revitalization under the collaborative guidance of James Gunn and Peter Safran.
So far, fans are not impressed.
— ❓❓0❓ (@comicxbook) August 20, 2023
The production budget for the film was about $104 million, according to Collider.
The outlet said the movie will need to double that just to break even — and it has a long way to go.
Over its opening weekend, “Blue Beetle” made only $25.4 million at the box office — good enough for No. 1 overall but less than projected, according to Deadline.
— Nerdrotic (@Nerdrotics) August 20, 2023
Nolte: ‘Blue Beetle’ Looks Like Another Identity Politics DC Flop https://t.co/YyCpzpdi3F
— Brett Yeamans🇺🇸 (@BrettYeamans) August 20, 2023
As Koimoi reported, “Blue Beetle has become yet another underperformer at the Box Office and has opened to numbers that are being called the lowest for DC flicks in the almost past 2 decades.”
Why did it underperform?
Deadline’s Anthony D’Alessandro said the box office total “isn’t shocking next to other Latino and Hispanic fueled action pics” and suggested poor promotion was to blame.
“Why wasn’t this movie even strutted at San Diego Comic-Con?” he wrote.
“[H]ow much does it cost for a studio to rent two movie auditoriums, popcorn and soda, and two-night hotel accommodations for a director so that the movie can be shown off to fans and screamed across social media?” D’Alessandro said.
He also wrote Sunday that Tropical Storm Hilary might keep moviegoers in Southern California from seeing the film.
“If it’s heavy rains, no one is going out,” D’Alessandro said.
The Hollywood Reporter expressed similar concerns.
“It remains to be seen how much Tropical Storm Hilary dampens grosses in Los Angeles — the film’s top market — and other parts of the Southwest, but Warner Bros. expects the impact to be significant,” it said.
Despite beating out Barbie over the weekend, Blue Beetle is still a massive bomb for DC and one of the lowest opening weekends for a DC movie in 20 years, and is the latest in a string of really bad openings for DC.
Nobody wanted this movie. pic.twitter.com/m5L3cpee3d
— Jon the Bounty Hunter 🎙️ 🎧 🇺🇸 ✝️ (@jonloveless) August 21, 2023
A review in Geeks and Gamers by Alex Gherzo has a more plausible explanation.
“However bad you think Blue Beetle is, it’s worse,” Gherzo wrote.
“I was surprised,” he said. “I figured it would be a dull but fairly innocuous superhero movie, forgettable but harmless. It isn’t; it’s one of the most aggressively annoying, poorly written, badly plotted films in recent memory, not so much derivative of other superhero movies as shamelessly cribbing from them to patch together something resembling a story.
“This is what I imagine a film written by AI would look like (at least in the early stages before we get to the horror sentience stage), a soulless patchwork of what a machine thinks is a human story.”
Gherzo then explained why he believes identity politics and entertainment don’t work.
“Every clash between characters is defined in racial terms,” Gherzo said, “with Jaime’s uncle encouraging him to be a hero for his people, as opposed to white people, who have Superman, Batman, and the Flash.
“Aside from casting those heroes in a bad light – I don’t recall Superman putting racial quotas on the people he saves – it doesn’t do wonders for Jaime, either, and he never refutes this or declares himself a hero for everyone (Though even in those parameters, Jaime never tries to help his neighborhood or save Hispanic civilians; it’s all about him.)”
“They’re also illegal aliens (because Hollywood seems to think all Hispanic people came here illegally), and they seemingly spend their days whining about imperialism,” he added.
“There’s nothing to be inspired by or believe in with Blue Beetle, just a lot of complaining,” Gherzo wrote.
Many on social media agreed with him.
Blue Beetle could have been a decent movie if it didn’t keep preaching “white people bad” or the mentality of “no immigrant is illegal” and Mary Sues aka girl bosses.
— Julius (@TodaywithJulius) August 18, 2023
No thanks. Not interested in a political lecture disguised as a superhero film.
— Bounding Into Comics (@BoundingComics) August 11, 2023
As a fan of superhero movies, I really don’t care about the race of the lead character as long as the movie is entertaining.
But if the movie is banking on selling tickets for any other reason than the satisfaction the viewer feels at the end, it was made for the wrong reasons.
The jury is still out on “Blue Beetle.”
The final verdict will be written on the box office receipts.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.