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How The Flash's Abysmal Run Was Saved From Total Box Office Failure

It's no secret that "The Flash" failed to resonate with fans, and many people probably expected the DCEU film to fade into oblivion once it was no longer welcome in theaters. While it may have suffered significant setbacks along the way and failed to meet expectations, the Scarlet Speedster's first live-action solo movie has earned an unexpected victory for Warner Bros. Discovery after surprisingly finding it difficult to gain traction while in theaters.

Between the controversies surrounding Ezra Miller, delays in release, and the death of the DCEU, "The Flash" had a lot of things working against its chances of success, and the dismal reception after its tumultuous journey from production to premiere probably would have led many to believe it had cemented the end of its run. However, according to a report from Indie Wire, the film managed to pick up speed since it was made available for digital download. The film worked its way up to take over the top spot of the charts on three major VOD platforms — Google Play, iTunes, and Vudu — the same week that Warner Bros. Discovery's surprise summer hit "Barbie" was also sitting on the box office throne.

Even though the Andy Mushietti-directed Barry Allen feature couldn't deliver on the cinema side of things and its worthwhile earnings on VOD most likely won't be enough to make the movie profitable, at least it made its presence known on people's screens and didn't leave Warner Bros. Discovery completely empty-handed. Although the studio may take it as a win, they may want to slow down on taking a victory lap when they hear how some fans feel about these results.

Fans are not impressed by The Flash's VOD success

It's no secret that "The Flash" bombed at the box office and the film's performance was a crushing defeat for Warner Bros. Discovery. Still, the ground that the film has gained after the digital download release will most likely recoup some of the movie's losses. However, many people have quickly made their voices heard and believe the late sprint of success is less a victorious occasion and more of a too little, too late situation.

"The Flash" speeding its way to number one on VOD is not something certain fans feel is a cause for celebration. Several people on Reddit responded to the news of its multi-platform number one status, like u/deux, who didn't seem impressed at all. "Well, at least they will get another $5M – $10M to add to the grim box office," the user wrote. Another Reddit user was not surprised, writing, "Seemed obvious it would do well here. Because no one saw it in theaters." One user even pointed out how bad it would have looked had the film not crossed the finish line before the competition, saying, "It would've been really embarrassing if it did not come #1 in its first week at least."

There is no denying the post-theatrical efforts from the movie have been met with a less than stellar response from some fans, but some believe these results have much larger implications not only for "The Flash," but for the future of superhero cinema, as well.

Should The Flash go back in time and skip a theatrical release?

Some people feel the movie's smooth run after stumbling at the box office is a win, and others see the so-called accomplishment as insignificant at best. But there are some who believe it makes a strong case not only against the decision to release "The Flash" in theaters, but also for the question of whether cinemas are the best place for superhero flicks to make a profit.

Even though "The Flash" has several flaws, including bad CGI, the film is far from the lowest-rated DCEU feature on Rotten Tomatoes, and some people believe that its stellar numbers on VOD suggest the studio took the wrong approach with the motion picture's release strategy. For example, u/Mister_Green2021 summed it up nicely on Reddit, posting, "It's a good movie, just not cinema worthy. The public has spoken." But the news also has some people looking beyond "The Flash," like a Reddit user who brought up a thought-provoking question in response to the films' VOD triumphs. u/Hiromi580 wrote, "Makes me wonder if superhero movies are moving towards being more profitable outside of theaters?"

While the disturbance from the slight resurgence "The Flash" experienced has got people talking, it seems doubtful whether its efforts will alter how this timeline releases superhero cinema. And even if Warner Bros. Discovery could go back in time to do things differently, there is a good chance the results would be just as bad as what happened to Barry Allen in the movie, if not worse.