The Flash, the latest DC superhero film starring Ezra Miller as the speedy Barry Allen, has failed to impress audiences and critics alike, resulting in a disappointing box office performance. The film, which was hyped as one of the greatest superhero movies ever made, only earned $55 million in its debut weekend, far below the projected $70 million. The film also faced stiff competition from other summer blockbusters, such as Pixar’s Elemental and Sony’s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.
One of the possible reasons for the film’s poor performance is the controversy surrounding Miller, who has been arrested multiple times and accused of abuse in recent years. In 2020, a video surfaced online showing Miller grabbing a female fan by the throat in Iceland. In 2022, Miller was arrested twice in Hawaii on suspicion of disorderly conduct, harassment, and assault. Miller issued a statement in August 2022, apologizing for their past behavior and saying they were suffering from “complex mental health issues” and undergoing treatment.
Fans had vowed not to watch The Flash after the film was completed with Miller in the leading role despite their legal troubles and allegations of abuse. According to David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research, “This is a weak three-day opening for a superhero [film]. There have been similar openings that grew into big numbers … But we do not see that here.”
Warner Bros., which is releasing The Flash, has sidelined Miller in an effort to shield the film from any further PR damage. Miller has been absent from the publicity campaign for the film and did not answer any questions from the press at the film’s low-key Los Angeles premiere on Monday. Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst at Comscore, says that “Every few years, you have one of these unfortunate situations where a star who is inextricably linked with a character or a movie has very public off-screen issues. This causes the studio publicity people nightmares because it takes one more thing out of their control.”
The Flash follows Miller’s Barry Allen as he travels back in time to prevent his mother’s murder and inadvertently cracks open the DC multiverse. The film features cameos from other DC characters, such as Ben Affleck’s Batman, Michael Keaton’s Batman, and Sasha Calle’s Supergirl. The film also introduces a new villain, General Zod, played by Michael Shannon. Despite these attractions, the film has received mixed reviews from critics and audiences alike, with a “B” CinemaScore and a 63% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Flash is not the first DC film to flop at the box office in recent years. The critically panned Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Black Adam also underperformed in their theatrical runs. The studio has been in a state of turmoil since the Warner Bros. Discovery merger, which resulted in mass layoffs and killed upcoming DC projects such as Batgirl and Wonder Woman 3. It remains to be seen if The Flash can recover from its weak opening and if Miller can redeem themselves in the eyes of fans and critics.
– Ezra Miller backlash blamed as The Flash bombs at the box office, Mirror Online, 18 Jun 2023
– ‘The Flash’ fizzles at the box office amid Ezra Miller controversy, studio woes, Los Angeles Times, 18 Jun 2023
– How ‘The Flash’ movie hopes to dodge Ezra Miller controversy, Los Angeles Times, 11 Jun 2023
– The Flash’s Fate Is Uncertain as Ezra Miller Faces Legal Charges, Collider, 14 Jun 2023