The Flash and Elemental Underperform at Overseas Box Office
The two latest films from major studios, The Flash and Elemental, have had a disappointing start to their box office careers overseas. Despite the popularity of superhero films and the pedigree of Pixar, both features failed to meet industry expectations.
Warner Bros. Pictures released the latest installment in the DC Extended Universe, The Flash, on the weekend ending June 18, 2023. The film has faced various legal issues throughout its development, including the personal controversies of its lead actor, Ezra Miller, which hurt its chances of success at the box office.
Box Office Numbers
Comscore estimates the movie pulled in $75 million internationally, while its global gross was $139 million. The Flash earned only $55.1 million domestically. This amount falls between the domestic debut of the 2019 movie Shazam! ($53.5 million) and Black Adam’s ($67.0 million) in 2022.
Budget and Profitability
The film was produced on a budget of around $200 million plus marketing expenditure. The studio will likely struggle to recoup this investment, as the movie struggles to cross $400 million at the worldwide box office.
Fan and Critical Reception
Reviews of The Flash have been mixed. Critics praise the movie’s entertainment value and sincerity, while others felt its third act was unwieldy and that the film indulged too much in fan service. Despite its flaws, The Flash proves a competent superhero film.
Pixar’s latest film, Elemental, premiered on the same weekend as The Flash. It’s a movie about the power of friendship, with a twist that involves mythical elemental creatures.
Box Office Numbers
Despite an intensive marketing campaign, the film grossed $29.5 million domestically. Its global earnings added up to $44.15 million, including a lackluster $15 million international take.
The visuals received rave reviews, with many praising Pixar’s attention to detail in creating Element City and its unusual inhabitants. However, the storyline and writing have been criticized for being too thin and poorly written, with nothing about it making sense.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
The superhero genre continues to flourish with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse in its third weekend at the box office. It has earned a total of $280.3 million in North America and $494 million globally, with earnings of $27.8 million in its third weekend alone.
Transfomers: Rise of the Beasts
The latest movie in the popular Transformers franchise, Transfomers: Rise of the Beasts, did well, earning $20 million over the weekend.
The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid rounded out the top five for the week, with earnings of $11.6 million.
The results of these latest releases are disappointing for both studios. Analysts had predicted better outcomes, especially given that superhero movies usually do well at the box office and Pixar has an excellent reputation for creating inventive and emotional films. However, the box office disappointments aren’t entirely surprising because these movies were competing in a crowded field.
Fan Attitudes and Incentives
One issue driving audience behavior is the declining appeal of original stories. While franchises with known intellectual property still tend to draw in sizeable audiences, original stories, like those in The Flash and Elemental, struggle to cut through the noise.
The Impact of Streaming
The global pandemic has also played a role in the lackluster performance of newer movies. Audiences are becoming accustomed to seeing blockbuster films on streaming platforms, which provides more comfort and flexibility. Three recent Pixar films, Soul, Luca, and Turning Red, were recently released solely on Disney+.
The disappointing box office performance of The Flash and Elemental, major releases from Warner Bros. and Pixar, respectively, serves as a reminder that the movie industry has become increasingly competitive. Even superhero movies and animated classics need to work hard to stand out in a crowded field for the attention of an audience that has a decreasing appetite for original stories.
1. How much did The Flash earn worldwide?
The Flash earned $139 million globally, including $55.1 million domestically and an estimated $75 million internationally.
2. When was The Flash released?
The Flash was released during the weekend ending June 18, 2023.
3. What is Elemental about?
Elemental is a heartwarming story about an unlikely friendship between Fire and Water within a world of living elemental powers.
4. What were the global earnings of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse?
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has earned $494 million at the global box office so far, $280.3 million of that just in North America.
5. Have other original stories struggled at the box office recently?
Yes, the film industry is increasingly reliant on sequels based on known intellectual property like the franchises, the superhero universes like Marvel and DC Comics. Original stories like those featured in The Flash and Elemental had to compete fiercely in a crowded field.