Weekend Box Office Forecast: Can BLUE BEETLE or STRAYS Dethrone BARBIE and OPPENHEIMER?

© 2023 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved. TM & © DC; Chuck Zlotnick/Universal Pictures

The summer movie season’s final weeks are upon us, with less than a handful of major studio releases remaining on the slate before Labor Day. This weekend, two of them will make a play to temporarily outrank the reigning blockbusters atop the box office.

Blue Beetle

Warner Bros. Pictures

August 18, 2023 (WIDE)

Opening Weekend Range: $22M-$32M


  • The core DC fan base and potential to over-index among Hispanic families could help Blue Beetle come in slightly above what have until recently been bearish tracking ranges. The title character having low prior exposure among audiences means the film should be less front-loaded than the likes of The Flash and Shazam! Fury of the Gods earlier this year.
  • Strays will counter as an R-rated comedy, with a voice cast lead by Will Ferrell and Jamie Foxx. As the first bona fide comedy to open since Barbie, there remains some sleeper potential a la fellow August openers Good Boys (2019) and Sausage Party (2016).
  • Barbie and Oppenheimer will remain mostly uncontested for each one’s primary audience in their fifth weekend of release, with some caveats (noted below).


Universal Pictures

August 18, 2023 (WIDE)

Opening Weekend Range: $11M-$18M


  • Without clear hooks, superhero films are enduring some regression at the box office, and Blue Beetle‘s pre-sales currently trail those of the Shazam! sequel. The staying power of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem could also be a minor factor in limiting family turnout, as could be the start of the school year, with 30 percent of K-12 students back in class as of this Friday (up from 19 percent on August 4).
  • Strays‘ marketing impact has left something to be desired, perhaps exemplified in pre-sale trends that lag behind fellow R-rated comedies No Hard Feelings and Cocaine Bear.
  • With a family-friendly film and an adult-centric comedy opening this weekend, Barbie might stand to face slight audience runoff. Oppenheimer, meanwhile, will shed its exclusive Imax footprint to Blue Beetle. The Christopher Nolan film earned an estimated 30 percent of its fourth frame gross from Imax venues alone, meaning week-to-week declines will become slightly inflated for a brief period of time.

Current projection ranges call for a 48% increase from the comparable weekend’s top ten aggregate of $69.3 million in 2022 and a 1% increase from 2019’s $101.9 million.

Film Studio 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, August 20 Fri Location Count Projection (as of Wed) 3-Day % Change from Last Wknd
Blue Beetle Warner Bros. Pictures $26,000,000 $26,000,000 ~3,850 NEW
Barbie Warner Bros. Pictures $21,500,000 $568,100,000 ~3,800 -36%
Strays Universal Pictures $13,100,000 $13,100,000 ~3,000 NEW
Oppenheimer Universal Pictures $11,000,000 $285,100,000 ~3,300 -41%
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem Paramount Pictures $9,400,000 $89,500,000 ~3,500 -38%
Meg 2: The Trench Warner Bros. Pictures $7,500,000 $67,500,000 ~3,400 -42%
Talk to Me A24 $4,000,000 $38,600,000 ~1,900 -22%
Haunted Mansion Walt Disney Pictures $3,800,000 $59,900,000 ~2,400 -34%
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One Paramount Pictures $3,500,000 $165,600,000 ~1,800 -24%
Sound of Freedom Angel Studios $3,000,000 $178,200,000 ~2,200 -39%
The Last Voyage of the Demeter Universal Pictures $2,900,000 $11,800,000 ~2,715 -55%

All forecasts are subject to revision/finalization before the first confirmation of opening previews or Friday estimates from studios or official sources.

Theater counts are either studio estimates OR unofficial projections if preceded by “~”.

The above table does not necessarily represent the top ten as some studios do not finalize weekend location counts and/or an intent to report box office returns prior to publishing.

© 2023 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved. TM & © DC; Chuck Zlotnick/Universal Pictures

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