DC’s latest superhero movie ‘The Flash’ has just set an undesired record.
With a meagre $261 million box office debut against a massive production budget, it is officially the world’s biggest superhero box office bomb.
Directed by Andy Muschietti, the film stars Ezra Miller as the titular character The Flash aka Barry Allen and Michael Keaton as Batman.
Even George Clooney and Ben Affleck, both of whom played Batman in the past, make a cameo appearance in the movie.
Still, it wasn’t enough to save The Flash from setting this rather uncomfortable record.
The Flash had a production budget north of $200 million.
But the overall budget shot up to $350+ million when you include marketing costs.
Do the math and it turns out that Warner Bros and DC made about 50 cents for every dollar they spent on this movie.
According to Comingsoon.net and the LA Times, Warner Bros is looking at a net loss in excess of $200 million.
So how did this happen?
Large production studios like Warner Bros have certainly milked the superhero cow as much as they could in recent years.
There’s a chance people are getting tired of watching superhero movies.
The fact that these days superhero movies tend to be filled with politically-infused dialogue may also be a factor.
More importantly, it’s clear that movies starring lesser-known superhero characters regularly flop.
DC and Warner Bros lost money on Shazam!: Fury of the Gods and then they lost even more money on Black Adam, even though the latter movie starred Dwayne Johnson.
The Flash did even worse, and controversies surrounding Ezra Miller, the main actor in the film, probably didn’t help either.
Box office bomb vs blockbuster – how does it work?
Generally speaking, for every $100 million spent on production, large studious spend at least $50 million on marketing.
In order to break even, a movie with a nine-figure production budget has to bring in two dollars of revenue for every dollar it cost to make.
So if a movie only makes $261 million against a production budget of $200 million, it’s definitely a box office bomb.
On the opposite end of the spectrum you’ve got blockbusters.
Now, Blockbuster is a loose term and there’s no exact definition.
However, the description usually applies to any movie that earned three times what it cost to make, including marketing.
When it comes to superhero films, the 2019 movie Avengers: Endgame is the biggest blockbuster so far.
It cost around $600 million to make, including marketing, and grossed $2.8 billion in total.