Warner Bros. might be sending Blue Beetle straight to streaming. The Latino-led superhero movie will reportedly join Batgirl as an HBO Max release, per a new report, which means two of Warner’s minority-led DC Comics releases might skip theaters altogether.
Buried in a report from the Los Angeles Times on the state of Warner Bros. amid the looming Discovery merger was the news that the Blue Beetle movie release has been set for an HBO Max debut. Here is the line in the report:
Additionally, Warner Bros. has mid-budget DC movies on the way for streaming, “Batgirl” and “Blue Beetle.”
It was already reported that Batgirl was destined for the streaming service back when it was announced the female-led superhero movie would be helmed by Bad Boys for Life duo Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. However, this is the first news that Blue Beetle, which would be the first-ever DC superhero movie to feature a Latino superhero in the lead, would receive a straight-to-streaming release.
A potential Blue Beetle film has been kicking around for a few years now — we first reported on it back in 2018 — but it was only earlier this year that the ball really started rolling, when Angel Manuel Soto, the filmmaker behind Charm City Kings, was set as the director of the film penned by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer. Blue Beetle is billed as the first Latino-lead DC/Warner Bros. superhero movie, following Jamie Reyes, a teenager who discovers the original Blue Beetle scarab and gains access to a battle suit that allows him to fight crime and even travel into space.
The Optics Here Aren’t Great
But the distinction of being DC’s sole Latino-led superhero movie sadly loses its luster when the film is being demoted to a straight-to-streaming release. Though Blue Beetle and Batgirl are admittedly not recognizable marquee names on the same level as Batman or Wonder Woman, the fact that two of Warner’s upcoming DC movies led by a Latino and female superhero, respectively, are not getting the big-screen treatment should raise some eyebrows, to say the least.
WarnerMedia might be acting cautiously for many reasons: the Discovery merger, the stiff streaming competition that HBO Max (still the most expensive option) faces, the fact that many moviegoing audiences apparently don’t care for any character that’s not Batman. Not to mention that the fact that mid-budget movies have been squeezed out of theaters for years now. But a straight-to-streaming release can’t help but carry the VOD feeling with it, and with it, the suggestion that female and minority-led superhero films don’t have a place in theaters.
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