The Flash Dilemma: Why Warner Bros. Could Have Avoided Losses by Skipping Theatrical Release

The Flash Dilemma: Why Warner Bros. Could Have Avoided Losses by Skipping Theatrical Release
Chema Carvajal Sarabia

Chema Carvajal Sarabia

Box office analysis suggests that The Flash could cost Warner Bros. Discovery over $200 million by the end of its theatrical run. And this would mean that the movie has been a total disaster. Here are its spoilers.


Destined to succeed and serve as the movie that rebooted the DC universe, unfortunately, The Flash has received a very cold and poor reception from audiences. To the extent that the production company is going to lose money because of it.

The critics were harsh on the film, with Ezra Miller being the worst possible lead (not due to his performance, but because of his legal troubles and tendency to get into trouble). Additionally, it appears that theaters have lost traction in the past year.

Would it have been better not to premiere The Flash?

According to box office and economics analyst Luiz Fernando, The Flash has finally surpassed $200 million worldwide after grossing $26.6 million internationally during its second weekend in theaters.

“Painful, but it must be mentioned: if The Flash ends up within projections, as the studio only keeps half of the global box office earnings, it won’t even cover its total marketing campaign [of $150 million]. Warner Bros would have lost less money by releasing it on HBO Max or not releasing it at all,” Fernando tweeted.

“Not to mention that, aside from the expensive marketing campaign, The Flash still has a budget of $190 million,” he continued. “This movie can easily lose over $200 million for WB when all is said and done, a financial catastrophe as dangerous as Justice League, which led to a major shake-up at WB in 2017.”

Fernando concludes, “The difficult question to ask is: What will happen to WBD’s finances if Blue Beetle and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom end up being financial disasters as well? Will WB be able to afford producing superheroes in 2024 without significantly cutting their budgets? Will investors risk their money again on WB?”

The Flash’s box office problems

“The Flash” premiered in theaters on June 16th. Despite initial positive reviews, the long-running DC film has stumbled at the box office.

According to Box Office Mojo, “The Flash” only grossed $55 million in its opening weekend. As of the time of writing, the film’s domestic total stands at $87.5 million, while the worldwide total is $210.8 million. If the studio retains half of the global box office revenue, only $105.4 million would go to Warner Bros.

These numbers spell bad news for “The Flash,” given its high production budget. While Fernando reports a budget of $190 million, other sources (Deadline and CBC) suggest that the production budget could have been between $200 and $220 million.

Even assuming a production budget of only $190 million, the $150 million marketing budget would bring the total cost of the film to $340 million. So, in any case, Fernando’s prediction that “The Flash” will lose $200 million or more is confirmed unless things improve.

James Gunn has a very difficult task ahead: to revive the DC cinematic universe, something that Marvel has been able to accomplish from day one, but Warner Bros has struggled with, despite their efforts and investments.


Some of the links added in the article are part of affiliate campaigns and may represent benefits for Softonic.

Chema Carvajal Sarabia

Chema Carvajal Sarabia

Journalist specialized in technology, entertainment and video games. Writing about what I'm passionate about (gadgets, games and movies) allows me to stay sane and wake up with a smile on my face when the alarm clock goes off. PS: this is not true 100% of the time.

Latest from Chema Carvajal Sarabia