Defying initial projections, The Flash loses the second weekend box office. On the other hand, Sony’s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse wins back the number one position.
Despite strong audience scores, The Flash has severely underperformed. Much of the negative feedback stems from fans unwilling to support the DC Extended Universe film with Ezra Miller in the lead, after the star’s public controversies. Other fans blame DC Studios CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran's announcement that the DCEU will be rebooted as the DC Universe, making it pointless to support any remaining films from the previous continuity.
Box Office Mojo shared its estimates for the major films in theaters over the weekend of June 23 to 25, 2023:
— Box Office Mojo (@boxofficemojo) June 25, 2023
The DCEU’s penultimate entry The Flash suffered a massive drop on its second weekend with only an estimated $15.3 million haul dropping to a disappointing third place. Meanwhile, despite losing to The Flash the previous week, the second place goes to Pixar’s Elemental with an $18.5 million box office take.
But the biggest winner is Sony’s animated Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, re-taking the number one box office spot. It brought in $19.3 million for this weekend, but what makes it more significant is that the film is on its fourth week. Moreover, it is extremely rare for a movie to re-take the top box office position so late after its release.
With the second weekend box office numbers in, Box Office Mojo reports the domestic gross for The Flash goes up to $87.64 million and the international gross to $123.3 million, bringing the total global gross to $210.94 million.
For comparison, 2022’s Black Adam starring Dwayne Johnson only had a 59% second weekend drop. With the first weekend raking $67 million, the second weekend (October 28 to 30, 2022) saw Black Adam with an added domestic gross of $27.47 million. But although it apparently brought in a profit for Warner Bros. Discovery and Johnson’s own Seven Bucks Production, Black Adam was ultimately considered a box office failure.
Moviegoers who watched The Flash praised the performances of Michael Keaton (returning as Bruce Wayne/Batman from the Tim Burton films), Ben Affleck (as the DCEU Bruce Wayne/Batman), and Sasha Calle as Kara Zor-El/Supergirl. And even Ezra Miller’s dual role as both present and past versions of Barry Allen received critical appreciation. However, The Flash had been mired with multiple issues, not the least of which is the CGI which fans compare to the Superman mouth from the Joss Whedon-helmed Justice League (2017).
On the other hand, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has been receiving universally positive feedback. Aside from building on the story of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), the inclusion of Miguel O’Hara (aka Spider-Man 2099) and the strong performance of Oscar Isaac voicing the character were highlights of the sequel. However, the third Spider-Verse film might be farther into the horizon, according to one of the animators.
Given the lackluster box office performance of The Flash, plans for Michael Keaton’s return in a Batman Beyond film may be dead in the water. Furthermore, it puts pressure on the DC Universe reboot headed by James Gunn to mount a comeback for DC Studios and its superhero film properties. And what does this bode for the Aquaman sequel starring Jason Momoa? Will The Flash’s box office woes have a detrimental effect on the upcoming Blue Beetle movie which will be the first entry in the rebooted DC Universe?
The Flash, Elemental, and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse are all currently running in theaters worldwide.