It’s no secret that the superhero genre has been ruling the big screen for years, with both Marvel and DC trying to capture our hearts and wallets. But even the mightiest stumble and it seems that Warner Bros.’ DC Universe (DCU) is facing a string of disappointments, with The Flash being the latest entry to join the list.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, “The Flash” was touted to have a colossal budget of $300 million, and that’s even before considering the marketing expenses. Now, you might be thinking that a budget like that is par for the course when it comes to superhero blockbusters, but here’s where the plot thickens – the movie wrapped up its theatrical run with a global tally of just $268 million. Ouch! That’s a substantial gap between what was invested and what was earned.
2023 hasn’t exactly been a year of triumph for the DCU. Remember “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” the much-anticipated sequel that hit the screens in March? Well, it earned a rather lackluster $133 million worldwide during its run, falling far short of what many would’ve hoped for.
The truth is, the DCU has been grappling with diminishing returns for some time now. While “Black Adam” managed to soar above the rest by nearly doubling its budget with a worldwide haul of $391 million, recent offerings like “The Suicide Squad,” “Wonder Woman 1984,” and yes, the aforementioned “Shazam! 2,” all fell short of the coveted $200 million mark worldwide.
So, what exactly went wrong with “The Flash”? This outing followed the speedster Barry Allen, played by Ezra Miller, as he zipped through time to rescue his parents. However, the film’s narrative found itself entangled in an alternate dimension, roping in a younger Barry Allen, Supergirl (Sasha Calle), and the 1989 Batman (Michael Keaton) to help him find his way back home. And if that wasn’t enough, a resurrected General Zod (Michael Shannon) made things even more complicated.
Warner Bros. had hoped that “The Flash” would be a major draw, but it seems that this ambitious project couldn’t quite sprint past the hurdles. And while they might be licking their wounds, there’s is “Blue Beetle” to pour salt in the wound. The flick only debuted to a modest $25 million domestically, which to be fair was a slight improvement over initial expectations. But the real test will be whether it can power through and cross that elusive $200 million milestone.
In the never-learning world of Hollywood, their gambles are just not paying off, and “The Flash” serves as a reminder that beloved superheroes can be easily ruined by poor writing and production. As DC continues to recalibrate and navigate the challenges of the box office, we’ll be keeping a close eye on their future endeavors. Will they or will they not learn? I guess we’ll see.