‘Blue Beetle’ Is on Course for DC’s Worst Box Office Debut in 40 Years

James Gunn’s first year as co-CEO of DC Studios couldn’t have gone much worse, with the leftovers from the old regime continuing to find themselves mired in box office disaster and behind the scenes ignominy, but things are poised to hit a brand new low when Blue Beetle releases next month.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods followed up one of the franchise’s best-reviewed and most profitable installments with a bomb of epic proportions, which was then swiftly blown out of the water by The Flash faring even worse to run up potential losses of $200 million, all while Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom struggles to shake off the growing belief it’ll suffer the exact same fate.

Blue Beetle has tried to state its case for appointment viewing, but a non-existent marketing campaign coupled with writers and actors striking at the same time hasn’t done it any favors. According to the latest tracking from Box Office Pro, the first hero in DCU canon is poised to debut with the comic book company’s worst wide-release live-action opening weekend in over 40 years.

Current estimates have Blue Beetle landing somewhere in the $12-17 million range, and if it comes out at the lowest end of those projections, it’ll be the worst performance for any live-actioner featuring a mainline superhero since Superman III netted $13 million back in 1983. It’ll be an all-time low for the DCU if it comes out any lower than Wonder Woman 1984‘s $16.7 million, too, but there is one tiny silver lining.

Jonah Hex, The Losers, and Steel all debuted beneath $12 million, but the first two aren’t technically superhero stories and the latter only opened on 1260 screens, whereas Blue Beetle is poised to hit on over twice as many.

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