DC's film division is not having a great 2023. Well, to be fair, they haven't been having a great time in a long while, but 2023 is shaping up to be a historically awful year for DC's film brand.
Back in March, Shazam 2: Fury of the Gods was released to a lukewarm reception both critically and commercially. Although very few people thought a Shazam film would set the world on fire, the first movie's success led critics and fans to believe that Shazam 2 would at least be moderately successful.
After Shazam 2 flopped, all eyes were on The Flash, as the film was set to reboot DC's continuity and provide a clean slate for James Gunn's upcoming DCU. And with a slew of weirdly positive endorsements, including a glowing review from Tom Cruise, before its release, it's clear that Warner Brothers Discovery had high hopes for The Flash. Now that the film is in theaters, The Flash is rapidly losing momentum, as it came in third at Wednesday's box office.
Even so, it's probably pretty alarming to somebody at Warner Bros. to see that their brand new, very expensive superhero movie The Flash—which has now been in theaters for all of seven whole days—had already slipped to third place at the box office this Wednesday. Per THR, the Ezra Miller-starring superhero film came in behind Elemental (as lesser a performer as studio Pixar has ever put in theaters) and Sony's Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse, which is now moving into its third week in theaters, in terms of single-day receipts.Wednesday or no, that really isn't something you like to see after spending a reported $200-plus million, and a decent amount of reputational clout, on a "tentpole" movie.
And we really are talking small-ball here, in box office terms: Spider-Verse brought in $3.8 million on Wednesday, Elemental $3.5 million, and Flash $3.1 million. Minimal differences—except that Warner Bros. was presumably hoping for some maximal gains out of a movie it's been marketing so very, very hard. Among other things, those takings bring Spider-Verse up to $294 million total at the domestic box office, while Elemental—which, like Flash, is in its first week in theaters—is up to a measly $43.4 million. Flash itself up to $69.5 million at the domestic box office, which is where Warner Bros. projections were hoping it'd be back at the end of its first weekend, rather than several days afterward.