From its inception, the Blue Beetle film has been a HBO Max project, but it seems the studio likes what it is seeing of the production, so now it’s going to movie theaters in 2023.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film will be on August 18th of that year. It stars Cobra Kai‘s Xolo Maridueña as Jaime Reyes, a Mexican-American kid who comes into possession of an alien scarab/battlesuit. It is, of course, based on the original Blue Beetle — created by Charles Nicholas Wojtkoski (and, possibly, Will Eisner) — and the 2006 re-imagining of the character, spearheaded by Keith Giffen, John Rogers and Cully Hammer. Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer provides the script while Angel Manuel Soto directs.
The change is notable for a number of reasons. First: it reveals Warner’s continued faith in theatrical exhibition after shifting all of its 2021 releases to a day-and-date release on HBO Max. Originally a stop-gap measure in the face of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, some feared it would become Warner’s go-to method in perpetuity. Instead, Warner Bros. features will return to theaters-first early next year with March’s The Batman as the first of its superhero films of the new decade to be released exclusively in theaters.
Secondly, the DC Films plan for HBO Max leaned heavily into characters of color. Moving Blue Beetle to the theatrical calendar is a huge vote of confidence in the non-white character. Although, to be fair, Black Adam also features a non-white lead character and has always been part of the studio’s long term film schedule. Nevertheless, Blue Beetle‘s arrival in theaters on August 18th, 2023 will be a momentous event in its own right.