Box Office Upset: Spider-Man and “Elemental” Are More Popular than “The Flash.”
Warner Bros.’ DC superhero tentpole The Flash lost to Sony’s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and Pixar’s new cartoon Elemental at the box office on Wednesday.
Both The Flash and Elemental came out over the weekend of June 16–18, and neither did very well. The first movie only made $55 million in its first three days, which was much less than what was expected and a lot less than the $67 million that Black Adam, another DC movie with Dwayne Johnson, made in its first three days last year.
Even though hero Ezra Miller had personal problems and was arrested several times in 2022, The Flash was one of the most talked-about movies of the summer of 2023, if not the whole year. All signs pointed to The Flash starting with $100 million or more in the U.S. When Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav told theater owners at CinemaCon in late April that it was the best superhero movie he’d ever seen, the odds were in that direction.
But a lot of people didn’t like the movie on its opening weekend, even though it was No. 1. It got a mediocre B CinemaScore and just as mediocre exit scores on PostTrak.
Even worse, Elemental only made $29.6 million in its first three days, making it the worst three-day start in Pixar history when Toy Story from 1995 is taken into account. The good news is that Elemental has an A CinemaScore and good PostTrak exits, which helps explain why it beat The Flash on Wednesday with $3.5 million instead of $3.1 million.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, an animated sequel that is now in its third week, won Wednesday with $3.8 million, giving it a home total of over $294 million.
The Flash made $69.5 million in its first six days in the United States, and Elemental made $43.4 million.
All eyes will be on The Flash on Thursday to see if it can get back to No. 1 and win the box office race for June 23-25, or if Elemental’s better word-of-mouth makes it a close race.
This weekend, Sony will be busy with both Spider-Man and Jennifer Lawrence’s new R-rated movie, No Hard Feelings, which is expected to make $10 million to $12 million at the box office. The actress stars in the movie with Andrew Barth Feldman. It is the first of a series of raunchy comedies coming out this summer that hope to bring the troublesome genre back to the box office.
The other new national release is Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City, which is going all over the country after having the best per-location average at the specialty box office since 2016’s La La Land. The movie from Focus Features is looking to open with around $5 million.