DC’s latest film, The Flash, has hit theaters with high expectations, but its opening box office numbers have raised concerns. Despite receiving mostly positive reviews from critics, the movie has underperformed in comparison to previous DC films.
The Flash brought in $55.1 million domestically and a total of $130.1 million globally in its opening weekend, which is lower than the opening weekend numbers of Dwayne Johnson‘s Black Adam, which made $67 million domestically. Earlier this year, Shazam! Fury of the Gods debuted at $30.5 million, further adding to DC’s box office struggles.
While these numbers are not disastrous, they pale in comparison to the consistently strong opening weekends of many Marvel films, which often exceed $100 million. The reasons behind The Flash’s lackluster performance are unclear, but the controversy surrounding lead actor Ezra Miller, who has faced assault charges, may be a contributing factor. Miller has been largely absent from promotional events and interviews leading up to the film’s release.
Only time will tell if The Flash can gain momentum at the box office. Warner Bros. and DC were hoping for a stronger opening, especially considering the film’s significant budget and the plans to reset and reboot the entire franchise. The Flash has some positive elements, such as the return of Michael Keaton’s Batman and the introduction of new characters like Sasha Calle’s Supergirl. However, it remains to be seen if word-of-mouth will help the film improve its performance in the coming weeks.
With no major competition in the following week, The Flash has an opportunity to attract more viewers. However, with a 66% Rotten Tomatoes score and an average CinemaScore from opening weekend audiences, the film may struggle to generate positive word-of-mouth. The international box office performance of The Flash has also been underwhelming, with a total of $75 million from 78 markets.
The comparison to Black Adam, which failed to reach $400 million and resulted in financial losses for the studio, raises concerns about the future of The Flash as a potential franchise. Warner Bros. has other DC projects lined up for release this year, including Blue Beetle and Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom, giving them further opportunities to turn a profit in the superhero genre.
Despite a lukewarm opening at the box office, there is still a glimmer of hope for The Flash. Previous superhero films, like 2015’s Ant-Man and 2018’s Aquaman, have experienced soft openings but went on to become blockbusters. These examples show that a slow start doesn’t necessarily define the long-term success of a film.
The Flash also benefits from having a relatively clear release window, with no major competition until the end of June. This gives the film a chance to build momentum and attract audiences over the coming weeks. However, the film’s mediocre Rotten Tomatoes score and average CinemaScore indicate that positive word-of-mouth may be a challenge.
Internationally, The Flash didn’t generate significant buzz either, bringing in $75 million from 78 markets. This performance, coupled with the film’s domestic figures, raises concerns about its overall financial success.
The struggles of The Flash come on the heels of another DC disappointment, Shazam: Fury of the Gods. With Blue Beetle and Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom set to release later in the year, Warner Bros. still has opportunities to turn the tide and find profitability in the superhero genre.
The studio may need to reevaluate its strategies and find ways to captivate audiences and reignite excitement for its DC properties. It’s clear that a strong opening weekend is crucial, but long-term success depends on delivering engaging stories, well-developed characters, and memorable cinematic experiences.
As the superhero landscape becomes increasingly competitive, DC will need to find its footing and deliver compelling films that resonate with both critics and audiences. The future of the DC Extended Universe hangs in the balance, and The Flash’s performance will undoubtedly influence the direction the studio takes moving forward.