Given the production and marketing budgets, The Flash might be one of the biggest box office bombs in history. The DC crossover flick barely crept over $100 million at the US box office and ended its theatrical run having made just $268 million worldwide. It’s the latest miss in what has been an unfortunate denouement for the DC Extended Universe, but despite poor reviews and ticket sales, The Flash seems to be finding an audience on Max.
On August 31, Max added two Top 10 rows to its app to showcase the most popular movies and series on the streaming service. As of Monday, The Flash is the most-watched movie on Max. It is not especially surprising that a big superhero movie — even a rough one — would rise up the charts after arriving on a streaming service, but The Flash premiered on Max on August 25. It’s been over two weeks, and the DC movie is still doing numbers.
I am guessing that The Flash is seeing sustained success on Max because so few subscribers actually saw the movie in theaters. If you’re already paying for Max, all The Flash costs you now is 2 hours and 24 minutes of your time. Whether or not it’s worth that might be up for debate, but the only way to find out for sure is to press play.
More importantly, I think this might be a promising sign for the rebooted DC Universe, led by new DC Studios bosses James Gunn and Peter Safran. As far as this franchise has fallen, people are still going to give most comic book movies a shot, even if they aren’t willing to buy a ticket to see it in theaters. To me, this suggests that the recovery for DC won’t be as difficult as it may look on paper. If Superman: Legacy is great, it will make a profit, and Gunn will have the chance to build out a new DCU without the specter of the DCEU hanging over him.
In the meantime, Gunn and Warner Bros. have to hope Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom isn’t as spectacular a failure as The Flash or Blue Beetle. While the latter was well-received by critics, it has so far made less than half of what The Flash made. Audiences aren’t giving DC movies the benefit of the doubt, so if Aquaman 2 is a flop, it makes Gunn’s job that much harder when he has to convince us all to spend $15 or so on a ticket for his Superman movie.