The Flash movie’s underperformance at the box office has raised concerns about the character’s future, similar to how the Green Lantern film impacted the Green Lanterns’ cinematic prospects for many years. The Flash was a highly anticipated project within the DCEU, especially since it marked the first live-action solo film for the character. However, despite its potential, The Flash failed to meet expectations as an event film.
In its opening weekend, The Flash earned $55 million domestically, putting it behind Black Adam and indicating a challenging box office journey. The movie’s 73 percent drop in its second weekend, similar to Morbius’ drop, further sealed its fate. The question arises as to what lies ahead for The Flash franchise and whether Barry Allen will continue to be part of the new DC Universe.
As of now, The Flash has earned $102 million domestically and an additional $146 million from international markets. However, even three weeks after its release, the film has yet to break even. With a reported budget of around $200 million, excluding marketing costs, The Flash would need to gross approximately $450 million to start making a profit. Therefore, The Flash appears to be a significant box office failure when compared to Green Lantern (2011).
The 2011 Green Lantern movie, featuring Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, had a production budget of $200 million but only earned $220 million worldwide. Its domestic box office was $116 million, with an additional $104 million from international markets. Green Lantern also had a marketing cost of $100 million, bringing the final budget to around $300 million. Assuming a similar or even higher marketing cost for The Flash, it seems that the latest DC movie will join Green Lantern as one of the franchise’s biggest box office disappointments.
The failure of Green Lantern had far-reaching effects on Hal Jordan’s character, the Green Lantern IP, Warner Bros.’ plans for a DC movie universe, and related shows like Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series. For over a decade, there were no live-action Lanterns in DC movies or TV shows, with only a brief appearance by an alien Green Lantern, Yalan Gur, in a Justice League flashback sequence. Green Lantern 2 never materialized, and plans for an MCU-style franchise centered on Ryan Reynolds’ character were abandoned.
Instead, Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel retroactively became the start of the DC Extended Universe, followed by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Although Snyder had intended for John Stewart to appear in Justice League and even filmed a Green Lantern scene, the studio had different plans, and the scene never made it to the final cut of the film. The DCEU explored various corners of the DC Comics universe, but the Green Lanterns were left unexplored.
Green Lantern’s failure delayed any immediate revisit of the character, particularly in the film realm. While a Green Lantern Corps movie was initially announced for the original DCEU slate, it never materialized. Instead, a Green Lantern Corps TV show went through multiple versions before ultimately being canceled. In James Gunn’s new DC Universe, the Green Lanterns, specifically Hal Jordan and John Stewart, will be part of the Lanterns show within the DC Universe Chapter 1: Gods & Monsters slate, although no release date has been announced.
The box office disappointment of The Flash raises concerns about the character’s future. The chances of a sequel, The Flash 2, seem extremely slim, especially considering the reboot of the DCEU as the new DC Universe. No Flash-related projects have been announced for the DC Universe Chapter 1 slate, and it remains unclear whether Ezra Miller will continue to portray the Flash in this new franchise. Given that Batman and Superman are being reimagined in Gunn’s DC Universe, it is likely that most DC heroes will be recast or reinvented for this fresh iteration.