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‘Blue Beetle’ beats ‘Barbie’ in theatres

By AFP - Aug 23,2023 - Last updated at Aug 23,2023

LOS ANGELES — It was a good news/bad news weekend for “Blue Beetle”, the latest superhero film to hit North American theatres and the first built around a live-action Latino protagonist.

The DC Studios/Warner Bros. production topped the charts for the Friday-through-Sunday period and even dethroned “Barbie”, that reigning queen of pinkness, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations said Sunday.

But its estimated take of $25.4 million was “the lowest DC superhero debut of this era” other than 2021’s money-losing “Wonder Woman 1984”. 

“Beetle” stars 22-year-old American actor Xolo Mariduena — who is of mixed Mexican, Cuban and Ecuadoran descent — as a new college graduate whose body is taken over by the mysterious Scarab, which gives him superhuman powers.

Analyst David A. Gross said that while ticket sales for “Beetle” were only a third the average for new superhero flicks, reviews have been good and overseas prospects are strong.

“Barbie”, in its fifth week out, scored $21.5 million in ticket sales, “a huge result at this point in its theatrical run”, according to Variety. The Warner Bros. fantasy-comedy has now taken in an eye-popping $1.27 billion globally.

In third, also in its fifth week out, was Universal’s “Oppenheimer”, at $10.6 million. The historical drama about the origins of the first atomic bomb has passed the $700 million mark globally.

Fourth place went to Paramount’s animated “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem”, at $8.4 million. Its huge voice cast includes Maya Rudolph, Ayo Edebiri, John Cena, Jackie Chan, Ice Cube and Paul Rudd.

And in fifth was Universal’s new talking-dog comedy “Strays”, at $8.3 million, a concerning start for a movie made on a $46 million budget. 

Rounding out the top 10 were “Meg 2: The Trench” ($6.7 million), “Talk to Me” ($3.2 million), “Haunted Mansion” ($3 million), “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One” ($2.7 million) and “The Last Voyage of the Demeter” ($2.5 million).

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