Warner Bros. has high hopes for The Flash.
The upcoming comic book adventure, which is due to finish production in 2021 and is scheduled to hit theaters in 2023, has been extremely well-received in early previews, according to sources close to the film. Given DC Films’ track record of delivering commercial blockbusters, the initial acceptance that “The Flash” could be an audience-pleasing blockbuster is not only a relief, it’s a must for box-office success.
Ezra Miller being non-binary and queer in “The Flash” feels like a refreshing step forward in an era when superhero adaptations feature mostly heterosexual actors Chosen to be the title of a massive all-audience summer movie.
There’s just one obvious problem: Miller can’t seem to get out of trouble. The actor has been arrested or detained several times in recent months for harassment, disorderly conduct and traffic violations. Around the same time, two Hawaii residents filed a temporary restraining order against Miller after allegedly breaking into the couple’s bedroom and trying to steal their passports and wallets. While the restraining order was later revoked, their continued behavior has raised serious concerns about the health and well-being of those at risk to them, as well as Miller’s own. The incidents come nearly two years after footage of Miller appearing to strangle a woman outside a bar in Iceland surfaced. For a star with a $200 million budget, that’s hardly the kind of attention the studio wants.
These eye-popping events have sparked speculation about Warner Bros. Blockbuster Hope is planned, which is Barry Allen’s first solo film, aka The Scarlet Speeder, aka The Flash. Will the studio really replace Miller with another actor? Will it drop the film to HBO Max in an attempt to limit the negative publicity that could accompany its theatrical release? Or will Warner Bros. release the movie on June 23, 2023, as planned?
Barring unforeseen developments, Warner Bros. is making strides to give the superhero movie a full blockbuster treatment, sources said. It would be too costly for The Flash to cancel the project entirely, and it likely won’t generate the revenue it needs to turn a profit without a release. In order for option three to happen without triggering a major backlash, Miller needs to be at his best. That’s a big deal because Miller has been plagued by controversy after controversy so far, leaving collaborators worried about the actor’s welfare.
To complicate matters, news broke Wednesday that veteran film executives Michael DeLuca and Pamela Abdi will replace Toby Emmerich as chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures. Any leadership change at the studio would put the previous regime’s films in limbo; a movie as big as The Flash has been stymied by the fact that Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslov has been keeping the company’s cost controls tight. of marketing spend is still an issue.
“Warner Bros. has countless directions to go,” said Jeff Bock, a box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations. “Choosing the right one is critical to DC’s future.”
With the controversy surrounding Miller rather than the movie itself, some DC fans have wondered if Grant Gustin will be reprised on the big screen. It’s a rare practice, having in the past in 2017’s “All the Money in the World” with Christopher Plummer (replacing Kevin Spacey) and Mads Mickelson (in 2022) “Fantastic Beasts: Dumbledore’s Secret”). Still, Spacey only had a supporting role in “All the Money in the World,” and Depp only shot one segment in “Fantastic Beasts 3,” so Mickelson didn’t need to duplicate much.
For The Flash, insiders say it’s impossible to replace Miller without reshooting the entire movie. They appear in nearly every scene, and there isn’t enough digital technology to configure this magic without going back to square one. Remaking an entire movie isn’t a realistic proposition for any movie — let alone one that was finished months ago and has already cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
In the past, actors who found themselves in trouble but didn’t get scratched off the call-up list were effectively hidden from press conferences, hoping that the public wouldn’t notice their absence. Most recently, Ansel Elgort, who played Tony in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” remake, went down the road after sexual assault charges were levied against the actor in 2020. Ditto Armie Hammer, who starred in Disney and 20th-century “Death on the Nile,” and faces sexual abuse charges after filming ended. For “West Side Story,” Elgort’s co-star Rachel Ziegler, Ariana Debos and Rita Moreno managed to steer the press conference for the film. In Reaper on the Nile, there was a sense that Hammer (he didn’t Doing any news for the blockbuster movie) is not enough to make people aware of the allegations.
Sources close to “The Flash” believe that Miller is similarly unknown, despite the film adaptations from “The Perks of the Wallflower,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Justice League,” as well as three “Fantastic Beasts” films. installment. A string of Miller arrests has forced Warner Bros. to downplay the actor’s involvement in Fantastic Beasts: Dumbledore’s Secret, which hit theaters in April.
But similar to Hammer in “Death on the Nile,” Miller played one of several major roles in the “Harry Potter” spinoff, meaning the publicity job didn’t quite fall on their shoulders. “The Flash” can’t say the same. Of course, the movie also has big names like Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton. But the studio can’t effectively promote a big-budget blockbuster without the film’s star.
However, analysts note that for comic book heroes, the characters themselves tend to be larger than the actors in the Lycra suits.
“The thing about superheroes is … it doesn’t matter who’s under the mask,” Bock said. “You can insert and play different actors in those characters.” While Miller’s take on the character has appeared in several DC mashups, such as “Justice League,” Bock believes they’re not yet “the face of the Flash.” . In other words, “Ezra is not Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man.”
Even before Miller hit the headlines for the wrong reasons, The Flash was plagued by a long gestation period and multiple starts and stops. Since Miller starred in 2014, several directors, including Seth Graham-Smith, Rick Farmuiva, and the duo of John Francis Daly and Jonathan Goldstein, have been credited with creating joined the film due to differences, and then left the film. “It” filmmaker Andy Muschietti joined in 2019 and completed the work.
Those behind-the-scenes headaches, along with the pandemic, have caused several delays to the release date. But the studio can’t delay The Flash indefinitely. In theory, a new calendar in mid-2023 should give Warner Bros. enough time to determine the best course of action.
From the studio’s perspective, The Flash isn’t just a standard superhero origin story. The film begins with Barry Allen going back in time to prevent his mother’s murder, opening up the DC multiverse, paving the way for Batman to overlap from alternate realities (i.e. Keaton and Affleck) with Miller’s spandex-covered heroes the road. Think of potential sequels, spin-offs, and teamwork that might inspire.
The Flash also gives Warner another viable contender to keep pace with Disney’s commercially unrivaled Marvel Cinematic Universe. DC will have several assets on schedule for 2022 and beyond, including Shazam: Fury of the Gods, Aquaman 2, and DC League of Super-Pets. But crossover events like “The Flash” have fans especially excited, especially after 2018’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” successfully introduced the concept of the multiverse to mainstream audiences — and 2021’s “Spider-Man” Xia Xia box office blockbuster: No Way Home” and 2022’s “Doctor Strange in the Mad Multiverse” confirm that moviegoers really, real Love the concept.
In fact, Miller did have a timeline, and they acted together, and “The Flash” was able to open up seamlessly while appealing to critics and fans alike. While Miller’s actions will certainly force Warners to make The Flash a one-off project, it’s not a one-off adventure. Still, Warner Bros. remains enthusiastic about The Flash, considering the film one of DC’s strongest theatrical productions.
Meanwhile, the actor responsible for bringing The Flash to the big screen could jeopardize the future of the franchise and the studio’s willingness to get involved in Ezra Miller’s business. But there’s reason to believe the Flash can keep running, even if Miller has to hang up their shoes.