Hoping Not To Be Gone In A ‘Flash’: DC Pic Eyes $155M+ WW Opening – Box Office Preview

After a year plus of tabloid headlines about its star Ezra Miller, Warner Bros./DC’s Covid-delayed $200M Justice League standalone superhero movie, The Flash, finally arrives in theaters. The global opening looks better than domestic, $155M-$165M Global to a $70M+ in U.S./Canada.

Despite a very good response out of CinemaCon and DC co-boss James Gunn exclaiming that the pic is “probably one of the greatest superhero movies ever made,” along with reports on how the movie is set to reset the DC-verse, The Flash has been sitting around $70M-$75M on tracking for quite some time.

That’s a glass-half full type of start stateside especially in a marketplace that has been hot, and actually plans to remain hot. One box office source thinks that the total weekend gross for all movies could get to $200M. How’s that? There are two other wide releases aimed at non-fanboys: Disney/Pixar’s Elemental with around $35M (possibly even $40M+), and Lionsgate’s Tim Story directed horror comedy, The Blackening, which is looking at $6M-$8M U.S./Canada. Also strong holdovers are expected for Transformers: Rise of the Beasts and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse earning potentially $30M a piece. Juneteenth is Monday, June 19 with 97% of colleges and K-12 schools off; that day looking to provide another boost to the box office.

However, despite what many sources bill as a great date for The Flash, and a great marketing campaign with spots selling Batman and The Flash, as opposed to Miller, the DC superhero’s projections haven’t budged.

The immediate go-to reason for the stalled forecast on Flash is Warners’ sidelining of Miller during the media tour. Furthermore, a majority of the cast haven’t really been out there doing a ton of interviews. That said director Andy Muschietti and producer sister Barbara Muschietti have been doing a world tour of the pic, talking it up extensively. Keaton was an expected no-show last night at the Hollywood premiere for the film as he’s busy shooting Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice 2 for Warners in the UK. That event drew a majority of the pic’s stars including a thankful and humbled Miller in his first showbiz appearance since his legal troubles. Further compounding the broken bullhorn on talent are late night shows’ and their social media tenacles going dark during the WGA Strike. Also, we’re hearing that there were few promo partners for the film (specifically no auto partner); those ad partners can deliver anywhere between $80M-$120M to a tentpole’s campaign. How do you make up for shortfalls? A lot of TV spots, online and in-theater trailers.

At the same time, a $70M-$75M start for the first installment of a superhero movie is more common than you think — and some distribution sources even remark is very commendable start for a movie that was plagued by the off-set controversies of its star. Consider some of the openings of other superhero movies’ first installments, i.e. Ant-Man ($57.2M), Thor ($65.7M), Black Adam ($67M), Aquaman ($67.8M, though a 5-day Christmas weekend launch which did $105.4M and ultimately over $335M stateside). You gotta start these franchises somewhere. On one hand, some are shocked that a movie that features Keaton’s original movie Batman in his third go-round as the DC superhero after 31 years that is 71% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes is going to open to potentially less than Sony’s critically panned Venom. That pic was smacked by critics with 30% Rotten, but relished an $80.2M opening which started a franchise. In the same breath, the original Wonder Woman was expected to open to $65M-$75M, wound up overperforming to a $103.2M start. Perhaps, The Flash finds a similar enormous must-see heat this weekend. One assumption is that those being polled by tracking aren’t admitting that they have ulterior motives to really see the Miller movie this weekend. Flash previews start at 3PM Thursday.

In regards to overseas, The Flash speeds into 78 overseas markets this week, beginning with 15 on Wednesday that includes France, the UK and Korea. Thursday, it will add a further 47, with such majors as Germany, Italy, Australia and all of Latin America. Friday, brings Spain, China and Japan into the mix.

Currently, the opening international box office estimate is in the $85M-$95M range. There’s also a range of opening comps, from the first Ant-Man ($98M at today’s rates and in like-for-likes) to the more recent Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania ($115M) and Black Adam ($77M).

A question mark hangs over how deeply the issues surrounding Miller have seeped into overseas awareness. It seems likely that there may be reticence in such markets as the UK and Australia. DC-loving Latin America is the region that is tracking best, we hear, and China is a swing — as always nowadays.

While this is a character that is not very well known outside the hardcore fandom (or fans of the TV show), it’s tough to market a movie when you can’t travel the star, something that is key to generating buzz in offshore markets. 

However, awareness for the film is high and fan screenings have taken place in various areas including Keaton on stage for a double-bill screening of Tim Burton’s Batman followed by The Flash, at the Empire at Vue Leicester Square on June 3 with a Q & A. He then made a surprise appearance at Paris’ Grand Rex this past Friday which went down a treat. We hear Keaton had a ton of fun at the Paris screening. Keaton also recorded a special message for fans on social media telling them to go see the movie over Father’s Day weekend.

Elemental Pixar Movie

After a sour reception by critics out of its Cannes Premiere which landed Pixar’s Elemental somewhere in the 50% range on Rotten Tomatoes, the critical score has risen to 79%. Some are hopeful that the original animated film about the relationship between a water and a fire soul in another spiritual world will find families. Quite often original animated movies, which are always an uphill battle at the box office, are review dependent. Disney is pushing the 3D aspect of the movie. Some see a world where Elemental tips over $40M at 4,000 theaters, but its presales are tracking 35% to 40% behind that of last summer’s Lightyear which was a dud with a $50.5M opening.

‘The Blackening’ trailer

Lionsgate picked up The Blackening from MRC out of last year’s TIFF. To playing into the Juneteenth holiday, Lionsgate has changed up the pic’s rollout with Wednesday night Early Access Screenings including bonus content, followed by Thursday night previews starting around 6PM before launching Friday in roughly 1,775 locations. No reviews yet on Rotten Tomatoes.

The movie, which cost a reported $5M, and was co-written by Tracy Oliver and Dewayne Perkins, centers around a group of Black friends who reunite for a Juneteenth weekend getaway only to find themselves trapped in a remote cabin with a twisted killer. Forced to play by his rules, the friends soon realize this ain’t no game.

Also opening in six locations in LA and NYC is Focus Features’ new Wes Anderson movie, Asteroid City. After a Cannes world premiere the all-star movie which has Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson, Jason Schwartzman, Bryan Cranston, Jeffrey Wright, Jeff Goldblum, Steve Carell among a slew of others is 72% from 74 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

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