When all was said and done, after all the pundits weighed in on DC vs Marvel, Gunn vs the Fans, and the Fans versus Ezra Miller, the numbers spoke for themselves. THE FLASH underperformed in a big way at the box office. Originally projected for a $140 million weekend, that estimate dropped to $70 million just a week before its release but ended up taking in only $55.1 million (Box Office Mojo).
THE FLASH movie starring Ezra Miller earns the lowest audience CinemaScore in DCEU history.
Why? Let the finger-pointing begin. Many fans were suspicious of the celebrity endorsements ahead of THE FLASH’s release. Why would Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg go out of their way to praise a movie? It was as if the WB’s marketing campaign was to tantalize any ‘on the fence’ fans – do you want to miss a movie praised as the best superhero movie of all time?
WB’s repeated refusal to deal with warning signs, above all, sticking with its controversial star, Ezra Miller contributed to the box office disappointment of THE FLASH movie.
The FLASH’s Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ score (currently 66%) belied the celebrity endorsements the WB had previously marshaled. And oddly enough, the WB was happy to spoil its own movie, releasing a list of cameos. One lesson learned – Gen Y and Z moviegoers weren’t that interested to see Keaton and Clooney back as Batman. Their Batman is Bale.
Another component to THE FLASH’s failure could be seen simmering on social media. A couple of years ago, casting Ezra Miller seemed to be a Gen Z dream – a talented actor, a non-binary new celebrity, the DCU’s answer to Tom Holland. Fast forward to 2023 and with all the crimes Miller has been accused of, and casting him is about as smart as casting Dylan Mulvaney to do a beer commercial. It’s no surprise that the studio kept the normally flamboyant Miller from marketing and publicity duties. That’s how close WB came to having a bigger disaster.
WB’s arrogance was met by fans who did not forget about Ezra Miller’s bad behavior
Meanwhile, a blunderous quote from THE FLASH’s production designer summed up WB’s arrogance. Paul Austerberry said that he wasn’t too concerned about how the stories surrounding Miller would affect the film. ‘People will forget that,’ he said, noting that Miller did a superb job. Apparently, people did not forget.
There was also a loyalty factor. For 9 seasons, Grant Gustin has played The FLASH on the popular CW TV series. 10 years is a long time to build up fan loyalty so some fans were wondering why wouldn’t the WB let Gustin play THE FLASH in the movie version?
The WB decided to market THE FLASH without its star, Ezra Miller, concerned that the opinionated actor might put their foot in it. At the red carpet premiere, Miller appeared but did no major press interviews aside from a quick statement thanking the WB and the DCU “for their grace and discernment and care in the context of my life and in bringing this moment to fruition.” It’s always been about the money, Ezra.