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The tanking of The Flash and what does it mean?

Why has The Flash repelled mass audiences?

June 2023

Spiderverse II leads for weekend box office, The Flash continues to tank Hollywood Reporter – June 26, 2023

The news for DC and Warner Bros.’ big-budget superhero pic The Flash — which opened last weekend opposite Elemental to a sobering $55.1 million — grew worse as it fell off 72 percent to $15.3 million for a domestic cume of $87.6 million. Unlike Elemental, The Flash received poor exit scores. (The studio had hoped for a decline of 55 percent.) Insiders concede the film is a huge miss and is being totally rejected by audiences...

How is Hollywood generally understanding why The Flash has repelled mass audiences? They put it upon Ezra Miller "who is facing legal issues" as the Hollywood Reporter politely puts it. (I asked some comic book friends after 2 weeks into the film's run if they'd seen The Flash yet, they said "no," I asked why, they said "Ezra Miller.")

The Flash is flawed and shows that its been cut, recut and patched together. It contains good things and the audience that is interested in this sort of film walks out pleased with it, this estimate based upon my having seen it twice now with theater capacity at about 80% on opening day, and 50-60% the second weekend.

But not that many people are giving The Flash attention versus Spideryverse II and other fare that are on screens currently. How much Ezra Miller and his unsanctioned bad publicity tour of arrests and other troubles over the years has impacted this very expensive movie is a good question, but there's also the question of whether DC knows how to make a film that a mass audience will like. Shazam II sank like a rock and the preview trailer for Blue Beetle that appears before The Flash starts doesn't look like it is anything new or innovative as far as superhero storytelling goes, in fact it looks like a combination of the classic DC character but larded with a rip-off of Venom.

Judging by the preview trailer, The Blue Beetle story line seems to be right in the same groove as Quantumania, Shazam II and Black Adam, i.e., the family is everything and aren't families great, and shouldn't we like and protect families? Disney uses this to run interference for its films and DC is doing it, too, and both studios are in trouble, and its got nothing to do with family, its got to do with what's behind this schmaltzy, glittering theme swinging back and forth in front of the audience like a hypnotist's pocket watch.

I don't toss The Flash into this same mediocre peat bog (or the successful Guardians of the Galaxy III) because it's derived from an actual successful comic book story line (if only they had stuck to it all one-hundred-percent!) that is legitimately based upon the obsessive quest of Barry Allen to save his mom spanning across worlds and time lines. That Warners/DC are capping off their run of Snyderverse, Patty Jenkins, etc., superhero movies with The Flash before James Gunn's attempt to salvage the whole operation takes over says something: The Flash would have been a decent building block and starting point but to come at the end of the line of that run of movies it has a thematic meaning that's probably unintended, i.e., grow up and move on (which is probably something that helps The Flash have weight as a self-contained movie - - I saw people in theatre sobbing by the time we get to this part of the film).

Superhero stories (and characters) contain certain fundamentals and the big Hollywood studios may think they know what they are, but box office clearly says "nope."

Related: Review: The Flash 2023

Related: Lessons from the adaptations of Flashpoint Paradox and Secret Invasions

Comic Book Movies

Related: Seeing The Flash in theatres, finally - The audience at the opening day of The Flash – June 15, 2023

Vaguely related: Superhero Comics and the Freedom of Art

More or less related: "Superhero fatigue" is back


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Original Page June 23, 2023