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Blue Beetle Director Explains Switch From HBO Max To Theatrical Release

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In the months since Discovery acquired Warner Bros., CEO David Zaslav’s disdain for big-budget HBO Max original movies has shifted the company’s priorities in a number of radical ways. Movies like Batgirl and Scoob!: Holiday Haunt were shelved outright, with the studio deciding to take tax breaks instead of releasing them at all. Some other movies, like the upcoming Blue Beetle, were luckier. That film was not cancelled, but instead got a theatrical release, giving it a higher profile than it might have had on HBO Max and saving the movie from ending up on the scrapheap. 

Moreover, Blue Beetle actually shifted from the small screeo the biggest possible screen, with a planned IMAX release. attented a Blue Beelte trailer event earlier this week, which featured a press Q&A with director Angel Manuel Soto, who addressed the movie.

“IMAX is the shit. Honestly, it is the immersive aspect of it,” Soto told reporters. “At least, I try to be as immersive as I can with the projects that I do, and the scope of IMAX allows you to be swallowed whole into the frame….With my relationship with cinema, it’s very spiritual in a way, so it almost feels like you can have a physical connection to it. And in the same way that we try our best to bring the audience in and coming to this dance with the story and with the characters, IMAX just makes it, if you’re dancing with your partner, and you could be in a ballroom with people, but when you’re dancing with your partner, it feels like you’re dancing with just them, or you’re alone in the room with them. That’s what IMAX feels like to me.” 

“The studio kind of allowed me to run free in my creativity, and unbeknownst to them and to me, I guess what they were able to see as the promise of how we picture Palmera City, how we really wanted the suit to be, and how in the bigger realm of this cultural side is the impact that this can have culturally,” Soto continued. “But also in the superhero genre as just so to try something different, with the hopes that people will see it as this, for the hope that people can see it as what it is, it’s very, a lot of love, a lot of heart. The studio felt like it has the potential to be theatrical and the stories that we’re telling, the topics that we’re touching upon and how even though it’s very grounded and we were picturing this as almost like the first act of a big saga. We really wanted to make the things that sometimes appear to be small due to clouding of privilege, they can actually be worse than an alienation to some people. So how can we translate into a movie where a superhero can actually be a superhero? And it doesn’t really have to be with saving the planet from this fake invasion, but it’s actually something that can relate to, which, for some of us, is bigger than life. So I think the studio saw the potential there and they were like theaters.”

You can see the official synopsis for Blue Beetle below.

Recent college grad Jaime Reyes returns home full of aspirations for his future, only to find that home is not quite as he left it. As he searches to find his purpose in the world, fate intervenes when Jaime unexpectedly finds himself in possession of an ancient relic of alien biotechnology: the Scarab. When the Scarab suddenly chooses Jaime to be its symbiotic host, he is bestowed with an incredible suit of armor capable of extraordinary and unpredictable powers, forever changing his destiny as he becomes the Super Hero BLUE BEETLE.

Starring alongside Maridueña (“Cobra Kai”) are Adriana Barraza (“Rambo: Last Blood,” “Thor”) as Jaime’s grandmother, Nana, Damían Alcázar (“Narcos,” “Narcos: Mexico”) as his father, Elpidia Carrillo (“Mayans M.C.,” the “Predator” films) as his mother, Bruna Marquezine (“Maldivas,” “God Save the King”) as Jenny Kord, Raoul Max Trujillo (the “Sicario” films, “Mayans M.C.”) as Carapax, with Oscar winner Susan Sarandon (“Monarch,” “Dead Man Walking”) as Victoria Kord, and George Lopez (the “Rio and “Smurf” franchises) as Jaime’s Uncle Rudy. The film also stars Belissa Escobedo (“American Horror Stories,” “Hocus Pocus 2”) as Jaime’s sister, Milagro, and Harvey Guillén (“What We Do in the Shadows”) as Dr. Sanchez.

Soto (“Charm City Kings,” “The Farm”) directs from a screenplay by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer (“Miss Bala”), based on characters from DC. John Rickard and Zev Foreman are producing, with Walter Hamada, Galen Vaisman and Garrett Grant serving as executive producers.

The director’s creative team behind the scenes includes director of photography Pawel Pogorzelski (“Midsommar,” “Hereditary”), production designer John Billington (“Bad Boys for Life”), editor Craig Alpert (“Deadpool 2,” “The Lost City”), Oscar-nominated costume designer Mayes C. Rubeo (“Jojo Rabbit,” the “Thor” films), visual effects supervisor Kelvin McIlwain (“The Suicide Squad,” “Aquaman”) and composer Bobby Krlic (“Midsommar,” the “Snowpiercer” series).

A Warner Bros. Pictures Presentation, a Safran Company Production, Blue Beetle soars into theaters only internationally beginning August 2023 and in North America August 18, 2023. It will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures.

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