The Flash's Box Office Fail: Warner Bros. Braces for a $200 Million Loss
Is this the end of the DCEU or a signal that it's time new creators were brought in?
Warner Bros keeps bleeding red ink in the billions, and DC Studios, the division the company had the highest hopes for and invested huge amounts of money in, has been the biggest disappointment.
Regrettably, the once-loyal fans seem to have grown weary of the never-ending stream of DC movies. What began as a commercial success in the early 2010s evolved into a massive flop by the early 2020s. The recent release of The Flash, with Ezra Miller as the titular character, is a prime example of this sorry state of affairs. Not only did the movie fail to recoup the money the studio spent to make it, but it generated a massive loss of $200 million for the company.
Released globally on 16 June, The Flash barely made $212.5 million at the global box office by the third week since its release. The production budget reportedly totalled around $190 million, and the marketing campaign, which, ultimately, was also a failure, cost another $150 million.
The film grossed $50 million in the first week at the US box office, falling short of the hoped-for $60-70 million target. The second week's performance was even worse, with the film pulling in a meagre $15.3 million. That means the chances of it reaching a global box office of $300 million by the third weekend are getting slimmer by the second, and that's how much it needs to make if it's to at least partially the production and advertising costs Warner Bros. have sunk into it.
And to add insult to injury, many fans get the sense that Warner Bros. and DC Studios have no clue about what lies behind their consistent record of uninterrupted failure or why The Flash was received so poorly.
'They'll think audiences aren't interested in Flash as a character. When really the problem stems from a lazy story, problematic actor and disrespectful cameos in a movie that ultimately means nothing for the rest of the DC slate,' a Reddit user pointed out.
The issue is not just superhero fatigue, a phenomenon associated with Marvel and DC in recent years. It's specifically DCEU fatigue, as audiences are simply tired of the same type of movies with mediocre scripts and poor visuals. That doesn't even take into account Warner Bros.'s decision to stick with Ezra Miller despite all the controversy the actor has generated around themselves.
'But in the bigger picture, these movies are feeling meaningless, because they're produced as a piece of a larger universe that doesn't exist anymore,' another Redditor said.
While James Gunn and Peter Safran are keen to start a new cinematic phase by reimagining the franchise, they nevertheless released The Flash, which is technically part of the now-defunct Snyderverse. Hopefully, DC's upcoming reboot will offer fans some new compelling stories.