The Flash Is Now A Box Office Disaster Of Super-Heroic Proportions


It's no secret at this point to anyone who pays even a little attention to box office happenings that "The Flash" has underdelivered against sizable expectations. To say that the DC Comics blockbuster is a bomb, at this point, would be a bit of an understatement. In its second weekend in theaters, the film absolutely collapsed under the weight of disinterest from general moviegoers, taking in a mere $15.26 million, per The Numbers. It fell to number three on the charts, with "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse" actually jumping back up to the number one spot in its fourth weekend with a $19.3 million haul. That, in a nutshell, is how it's going for DC's latest.

From an already crushingly disappointing $55 million debut, "The Flash" suffered a horrendous 72% drop from its first weekend to its second. The only superhero movie to have a worse drop in its second frame? "Morbius." That proved to be an utter trainwreck for Sony, and it is not good company to be in. The bigger problem for Warner Bros., in this case, is that director Andy Muschietti's film about the fastest hero in the DC universe is that it carries a whopping $200 million budget — before marketing. Its global total now stands at $210.9 million. As of right now, the movie will be lucky to finish with $300 million worldwide.

If Ezra Miller's solo debut as Barry Allen does finish in that ballpark, Warner Bros. is probably going to lose somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 million or more. Granted, some of that money can be made up over time through VOD, cable rights, merch, Blu-ray, and what have you, but there's absolutely no chance of the movie even getting close to breaking even. It's bad for the studio, it's bad for theaters who were expecting this movie to be a hit, and it's bad for all involved.

DC is in serious trouble

To make matters even worse, Disney's "Elemental," which had a similarly disappointing box office debut last week, managed to hold quite well, taking in $18.4 million, representing just a 38% week-to-week drop. That illustrates just how little audiences are responding to "The Flash," despite the fact that it was hyped up a great deal by the brass at Warner Bros. ahead of the release. From Michael Keaton returning as Batman for the first time in more than 30 years to James Gunn calling it one of the best superhero movies he's ever seen, this was an over-promise and under-deliver situation.

And, not to pick on DC here, but the company is having a rough go of it lately. "Black Adam" made less than $400 million worldwide last year and became a hot-button topic, dismantling The Rock's big plans for the DC Universe. Yet, in hindsight, that movie looks downright successful. "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" is one of the biggest superhero movie bombs ever — period — having earned just $132 million worldwide in total against a $125 million budget.

Yes, Marvel has suffered relative defeats such as "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" earlier this year, with the film topping out at $476 million, but that's still a much larger number overall, illustrating just how indifferent general moviegoers seem to be when it comes to the direction of the DC Universe right now outside of Matt Reeves' "The Batman" universe.

DC's future hangs in the balance.

With both "Blue Beetle" and "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" still to come in 2023, DC still has two more blockbusters that need to try and right the ship. If they both suffer similar fates? DC Studios heads James Gunn and Peter Safran are going to be facing an uphill battle in trying to sell the forthcoming DC Universe reboot to the masses.

Gunn and Safran took over as the heads of DC Studios earlier this year and have announced plans for an entirely new slate of projects, both movies and TV shows. This begins, in earnest, with "Superman: Legacy," which Gunn will direct, in 2025. On the one hand, it seems like general audiences are very much ready for something new and won't be too hurt by leaving Zack Snyder's DCEU behind.

On the flip side, Warner Bros. just needs to hope that people don't write off DC altogether between now and then. Fortunately, more often than not, if the superhero movie is good, people will show up. Still, there is mounting pressure for this reboot thanks to the financial failures of movies like "The Flash." Not just from a quality perspective, but there's now a lot of lost revenue that needs to be made up for. No pressure.