The movie, which debuted on Aug. 18, usurped Barbie at the weekend box office and seemed to prove any negative predictions TikTokers had about the film’s success to be unfounded. But fans on TikTok are talking about the lack of official Hollywood marketing and internet marketing in the form of memes.
Blue Beetle is significant because it features DC’s first Latino superhero, teenager Jaime Reyes (played by Xolo Maridueña), whose ancient scarab-granted powers enable him to fight crime as a superhero. It’s not a new story either — DC says that the character has been a part of the DC Universe (DCU) in some form since 1939 and is one of the “greatest heroic legacies” in DCU.
So why were TikTokers being so flippant about the theatrical release?
“Blue Beetle is going to be the biggest flop of all time,” predicted TikToker @cjaxreborn, referencing the high number of empty seats on the movie’s opening night.
It has been speculated that the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strikes may have played a role in the lack of professional marketing for the film. The strikes started on July 14, and under union rules, union members cannot promote projects like movies.
Media and entertainment TikToker Devan Beiro (@thecubancrusher) — who has over 790,000 followers on the app — shared his thoughts on how the lack of marketing has held back what otherwise looked like a “fun” movie.
Warner Bros. did not respond to In The Know’s request for comment.
There has been “absolutely zero f***ing marketing for this movie,” said Beiro. “I just don’t see a lot of hype for it.”
DC influencer @yannisnerdverse predicted that Blue Beetle would only make around $15 million at the domestic box office on opening weekend, a sharp contrast to Oppenheimer, which made $82 million and Barbie, which amassed $162 million.
In reality, Blue Beetle raked in $25 million.
In the DC Comics subreddit, a Redditor lamented about the lack of promo and said they only saw advertisements for it on TUDN and Univision, two Spanish-speaking TV channels.
“I understand that this film was originally meant to be a streaming-only kind of movie, but wouldn’t you expect it to get more promo because of the fact that it’s going to be the FIRST ever live action film to come out of DC or Marvel to have a Latino superhero as the main character on the big screen?” they wrote.
One response speculated that Blue Beetle could have suffered because of how much money went into The Flash. The Flash, which was widely considered a “box office bomb,” starred Ezra Miller, who has been accused of grooming, abuse and disturbing behavior. Warner Bros. reportedly spent $70 million to $200 million promoting the movie.
“The popular ‘Flash bombed so DC is in marketing jail’ probably has some shred of truth to it,” another Redditor agreed. “Although I doubt Blue Beetle would have ever received as much [promotion money] as the Flash.”
Despite the lack of promo, moviegoers seemed to love ‘Blue Beetle’
Blue Beetle‘s official trailer alone had 7 million more views than The Flash’s trailer, which came with a huge marketing push from Warner Bros. and a Super Bowl commercial timeslot. DCU director James Gunn also recently confirmed on Threads that Blue Beetle would reappear in future DC movies.
“Loved it and the family represent every Mexican family. From the music, novelas, the house decorations. It was amazing movie best Dc movie so far,” one TikTok commenter wrote.
“10/10 for me It really is good GO WATCH IT!!!,” another person added.
“I needed to be somewhere where others are also excited for this movie,” a Reddit user posted, “because Jaime Reyes has been one of my favorite DC characters for a while and I was so hyped for this movie AND I WAS SO EXCITED WHEN IT CAME OUT AND I HATE THAT THERE IS VIRTUALLY ZERO BUZZ ABOUT IT BECAUSE IT WAS AMAZING.”
“I’m usually not a DC guy, but I saw the trailer for this and HAD to see it,” another Redditor said in response. “Made me miss my family. I didn’t know anything about it when I first walked in, but definitely going to be learning more. Made me a fan!”
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