‘The Flash’ opening to $20 million more than ‘The Marvels’ is the greatest cinematic tragedy of 2023

‘The Flash’ opening to $20 million more than ‘The Marvels’ is the greatest cinematic tragedy of 2023

We all knew The Marvels couldn’t replicate the phenomenal success of 2019’s Captain Marvel, not in this current climate, but nobody could’ve predicted that it would fail so badly it’s crashing faster than The Flash.

The Flash crowned itself the most embarrassing flop of the summer once it fell far short of expectations to debut with a mere $130 million worldwide over its opening weekend — pretty pitiful for a Marvel/DC production. Unfortunately, The Marvels has fared even worse, with its own opening stint at the box office bringing home just $110 million. It’s sunk even harder in its second weekend, facing a 79% drop in earnings that’s worse than even Morbius.

As shocking as it may be, The Marvels could well struggle to reach The Flash‘s total gross of just $270 million by the time it’s limped out of theaters. But there’s still time, people, to stop this travesty from happening. Please, don’t let The Flash win over The Marvels. It doesn’t deserve it.

The Marvels is flawed, but at least it isn’t as offensively bad as The Flash

Images via Marvel Studios/DC Studios/Remix by Christian Bone

If I could time travel back to the beginning of the year and show my younger self the above subheading, I would’ve been shocked. As a lifelong fan of Michael Keaton’s Batman and someone who doesn’t necessarily count Captain Marvel as among their top 10 MCU films, I was not expecting to prefer The Marvels over The Flash as a moviegoing experience. And yet, I do, because it really is the only sensible option.

As much as I enjoyed Nia DaCosta’s energetic direction and the chemistry between the three leads, I get it. The Marvels isn’t perfect. But while you may personally dislike the musical scenes on Aladna or feel Dar-Benn is a weak villain, do such negatives really match up to the crimes against cinema that include Barry Allen microwaving babies or resurrecting beloved icons with CGI so bad it makes your eyes bleed? And say what you like about Brie Larson (and I know some of you will), but Ezra Miller has nothing on her in the controversy department.

As journalist David Opie went viral on Twitter/X for pointing out, “Wild how so many people are hating on [The Marvels], a fun, inoffensive film, when The Flash grotesquely resurrected dead actors, battered horrendous CGI to an inch of its life and cast AN ACTUAL ABUSER in the lead role. Wtf is wrong with people.”

To be fair, Opie’s tweet makes it sound like The Flash got off scot-free, when as detailed above, it has already paid the price for its unsavory qualities — or Warner Bros. Discovery has, anyway. That said, The Flash thoroughly deserved its place as the most notorious superhero bomb of 2023 — and not just because this hideous hodge-podge of intellectual property is now Keaton’s final DC film instead of 1992’s sublime Batman Returns — but sadly it seems that it has passed that fate onto The Marvels.

And yet the consequences of this rivalry could stretch beyond the confines of these two releases…

Whether The Marvels and The Flash wins the battle, DC is destined to win this war

Screenshots via DC Studios/Marvel Studios

Whatever your personal feelings about The Marvels and/or The Flash, however, it’s all academic given that both of these very different and yet oddly similar movies failed to ignite enough interest at the box office. While each of these were supposedly about one particular corner of their respective franchises — a sequel to Captain Marvel and the Scarlet Speedster’s long-awaited solo movie — in reality they were both doing the heavy-lifting to establish a Marvel/DC multiverse.

And yet, despite the promise of DC crossovers galore and Marvel spoiling that X-Men crossover ahead of time, audiences didn’t bite. For DC, that’s a shame but not a fatal move as it had already put a new plan in place before The Flash was even out. Clearly, James Gunn could see the writing was on the wall as nothing is pointing to his rebooted DCU dealing with any kind of multiversal shenanigans. Unfortunately, for Marvel, it’s a different story. We’re still in the midst of the Multiverse Saga, don’t forget.

Both The Marvels and The Flash are obvious corporate products, that can be admitted, but even with Frasier Beast showing up at the end, at least the former doesn’t feel quite so much like IP: The Movie. So, I’m begging you, go see The Marvels again or give it a first try if you’re yet to do so. Not necessarily to help the MCU’s flagging Phase Five, but just because we can’t let what appears to be the first movie written by Chat-GPT land any kind of win.

I mean, that’s how the robo-pocalypse from The Matrix started. Probably.

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