Blue Beetle Will Now Get A 2023 Theatrical Release Instead Of Hitting HBO Max

While plenty of huge films are being pushed toward streaming or later in the year to accommodate for the ongoing limitations of the pandemic, Warner Bros. and DC have made a massive change to their slate, with "Blue Beetle" moving from an exclusive streaming release to the big screen. Originally developed for HBO Max, Warner Bros. announced today (per The Hollywood Reporter) that "Blue Beetle" will hit theaters on August 18, 2023. 

The film comes from director Angel Manuel Soto ("Dinner Party," "Charm City Kings") and writer Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer ("Contrapelo," "Miss Bala"), and is DC's first film to feature a Latino superhero, with "Cobra Kai's" Xolo Maridueña playing Jaime Reyes, a high school student who becomes the Blue Beetle after coming in contact with alien scarab.

"The only thing that is on my mind right now is just the fact that he's Latino. I have so much pride in getting to be a part of this project with Angel, someone like him," Maridueña told Variety. "I think it's so important, and I don't want to stand on the soapbox for too long but representation is so important."

With this new release date, "Blue Beetle" will be one of the last DC films of 2023, following "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" on June 2, 2023. As it stands now, "Batgirl" starring Leslie Grace ("In The Heights") and "Black Canary" with Jurnee Smollett ("Lovecraft Country," "Birds of Prey") are still scheduled to debut on HBO Max.

Increased Visibility Is Great – Now Do More

Many (myself included) found the original plan for films like "Blue Beetle," "Batgirl," "Black Canary," "Zatanna," and also "Static Shock" to go direct to HBO Max a little disconcerting, considering all of the films are centered around superheroes of marginalized identities. While it's great to see huge studios like Warner Bros. and DC give the historic green light to these films, it does the representation a disservice to not give the films the massive platform allotted when given a theatrical release. There is immeasurable value in pushing these films to the mainstream, and when we talk about equity, diversity, and inclusion, part of that equity is being willing to take the risk and put a film in theaters starring a hero that doesn't look like every other hero already plastering merchandise.

The move to a theatrical release is still worthy of celebration, because it shows that Warner Bros. and DC believe in what they're making with "Blue Beetle," which is also a testament to how good the film is hopefully going to be. If there's true justice in the world, the rest of the superhero slate will also pivot to theatrical releases, because these stories deserve to be seen by as many people as possible.

"Blue Beetle" will release theaters on August 18, 2023.