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August 16, 2023

Mural of superhero Blue Beetle covers Philadelphia Museum of Art steps ahead of film release

The DC Comics movie opens this Friday, and the art is expected to stay until Sunday

Arts & Culture Movies
Blue Beetle mural Jon Tuleya/PhillyVoice

A new mural on the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps features the main character from the upcoming DC Universe film 'Blue Beetle.'

The steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art were immortalized when Sylvester Stallone ran up them during a scene in the 1976 film "Rocky." To drum up publicity for the upcoming movie "Blue Beetle," DC Universe and Warner Bros. have commissioned a mural of the superhero on those steps.

When the film creators and studio were brainstorming ideas for the movie's press run, they only had one idea: bringing the character to life on the iconic steps, according to Jesse Cute, vice president of marketing at Allied Global Marketing.

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"Only thing considered, and it was all or nothing, (was) the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps," Cute said. "Like, this is what we want. Let's dream big, and we were fortunate enough to get it done. I mean, one of the reasons is that it's iconically known for Rocky, but also, many tourists are around the area, and the locals tend to notice it as they commute in and out of the city. So it was just the perfect place."

To get clearance to put the mural on the steps, the studio and film crews received permits from the City of Philadelphia's Parks and Recreation department.

At 4 a.m. on Monday morning, the Philadelphia-based company Big Mountain Imaging began installing the art on the steps, which was completed by 11 a.m. 

On Tuesday, during an official unveiling, Warner Bros., DC Comics and the Philadelphia Film Society presented the local organization The Block Gives Back with the Blue Beetle Super Hero Award and a $5,000 check for its community work.

"In the film's story, the Blue Beetle discovers this thing, which takes host in his body and makes him a superhero, and he uses his superhero skills for the greater good," Cute said. "So we played around with that, and we're like, why don't we also, in addition to installation, take a minute to think about the community in Philly since we're doing this in Philly and who serves the Philly community best?"

The Block Give Back hosts a variety of events in Philly parks, rec centers and neighborhoods, including street cleanups and school supplies giveaways, one of which is being hosted this weekend

"Blue Beetle" debuts in theaters this Friday, with preview showings beginning on Thursday. The mural is expected to stay on the steps until Sunday.

Watch a trailer for the film below.