When a new studio regime inherits an expensive and scandal-plagued movie, it’s probably best not to anoint it the second coming of Jesus Christ or The Dark Knight, right? Doesn’t matter if you personally loved it. Just keep the superlatives under control, in case the movie bombs and you need to blame the prior guys. (We tried our best, but we just couldn’t salvage this film, etcetera.) Easy.
In fact, in some ways, it’s almost better for the fresh leadership if the leftover films flop, thus proving the need for fresh leadership. Last thing you want is what happened at Paramount to Brian Robbins, who replaced the fired Jim Gianopulos in 2021, and watched as a string of Jim G greenlights became hits. It was only when Babylon imploded, in late 2022, that Robbins arguably became C.E.O.
In this instance, however, I’m talking about The Flash, the $200 million-plus Warner Bros. release that just shat the bed with a $55 million opening weekend and $130 million worldwide—well below expectations (including mine; R.I.P. my box office over/under win percentage). Months ago, Warner Discovery C.E.O. David Zaslav and DC co-head James Gunn now-infamously proclaimed Flash the greatest superhero movie they’d ever seen. Not “we loved the film and hope audiences share our enthusiasm.” Not “Andy Muschietti is a visionary filmmaker and really knocked it out of the park.” This was supposed to be The GOAT. They owned it.