The Flash has failed. Opening to a weak 55 million dollars at the box office, the long-delayed DC superhero epic cratered in its second weekend, earning a paltry $15.3 million dollars, and dropping a staggering 73%.
After years of build-up, false starts, controversies and empty-promises, the much ballyhooed film tripped over its own feet before it crossed the starting line.
Pre-release, the current DC studios chief, James Gunn, and WB CEO, David Zaslav, proclaimed The Flash one of the greatest superhero epics of all-time, with luminaries like Stephen King and Tom Cruise seconding their opinion.
Michael Keaton stepped back into the cowl as Batman to bring the nostalgia factor, and DC aimed to cash-in on the multiverse craze. Hopes ran high that the Scarlet Speedster would zoom past the controversies surrounding its troubled star, Ezra Miller, and make a massive impression at the box office.
Unfortunately for the already-troubled DC cinematic universe, audiences soundly rejected the film, giving it a substandard 'B' cinemascore and putting a final nail in the coffin of the DCEU - at least as we knew it.
So, what went wrong? How could such a massively hyped film fall so flat? What cautionary example can future filmmakers draw from The Flash's example?
Let's catalogue the artistic hubris, poor decisions and bizarre events that made The Flash a total flameout at the box office.
10. Marvel Did It First
In the comics, Flash has been dealing with alternate versions of himself since 1961's "Flash of Two Worlds", but Marvel brought the idea of the multiverse to movie audiences first, with 2019's Avengers: Endgame, and set the ground rules for it in 2021's Disney Plus series, Loki. While these films hinted at the wild storytelling possibilities the multiverse offered, it wasn't until Spider-Man: No Way Home that the multiverse conceit realized it's full potential.
No Way Home took the unprecedented step of bringing in Spider-Men from previous iterations of the franchise to interact with the latest version of the character. The idea of seeing Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield donning their Spidey-suits one more time drove fans gaga, and powered No Way Home to a massive $260 million dollar opening weekend and a $1.9 billion dollar worldwide gross.
After that, any multiverse film that followed would have an uphill battle standing out.
Unfortunately for WB, No Way Home stole The Flash's thunder, and even the promise of Michael Keaton's return as Batman could not inspire the same kind of fan fervor as Marvel's record-breaking smash hit.
If The Flash crossed the finish line first, it might have faired better.