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July 10, 2023
By: Kirk Jackson
Is it now the trend, for superhero movies to not live up to expectations?
Maybe not all superhero themed movies, but many of the highly anticipated, heavily advertised, blockbuster-esque projected movies have missed the mark in recent attempts, and that trend continued with the recent summer release of a movie based on a fairly popular character in The Flash.
Receiving mixed reviews and following its financially disappointing opening weekend, the film is considered one of the biggest box-office bombs of all time, with expected losses for Warner Bros. to be as much as $200 million.
This has been trend, and while it may be fun to place a pun on words, posing the question of whether this recent trend is a flash in the pan, or a sign of things to come, based upon the collective date, it’s looking like that latter.
As it pertains to the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), their last several releases dating back to 2020, failed to reach commercial expectations.
Budget $200–220 million
Box office $267.6 million
Shazam! Fury of Gods
Budget $125 million
Box office $133.8 million
The Suicide Squad
Budget $185 million
Box office $168.7 million
Wonder Woman 1984
Budget $200 million
Box office $169.6 million
Budget $190–260 million
Box office $393.3 million
Now there are exceptions, as some of the other classic, superhero movies this year reached success, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 ($826 million) and Across the Spider-Verse ($560 million) are two films that come to mind.
Homing in specifically why The Flash failed, that’s a discussion to be had.
Can’t necessarily cast blame upon superhero fatigue, so the first finger would point at the star of the show.
Ezra Miller and all of the controversies surrounding him. Accusations of assault, harassment, grooming, disorderly conduct, etc.
The ongoing Ezra Miller situation made the film difficult to market, due to not wanting to offend various groups, various audiences, in which ultimately affected the bottom line.
The Flash isn’t an A-list superhero like Batman or Superman, and with the lack of a superstar actor attached to the project, the $200 million production budget placed the film under tremendous pressure to produce results and financial projections the studio had hoped for.
As far as acting performances go, standouts Sasha Calle as Kara Zor-El/Supergirl, and Michael Keaton, reprising his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman couldn’t save this project.
The Flash failed to change the trajectory and more so followed the downward direction of DC films for this year, along with the likes of Shazam! Fury of the Gods and The Suicide Squad.
Far as how the future looks, DC CEO James Gunn confirmed that The Flash would reset the continuity of the DCEU and, alongside Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, would lead into the DCU’s first film, Superman: Legacy scheduled for 2025 release.
As to how those respective projects develop, the executives may want to consider Miller’s role and involvement moving forward and how that ties into the success of future projects.