Warner Bros. Pictures and DC have quite the predicament on their hands. Looking over the slate of upcoming DC movies, among the most highly anticipated is The Flash. Not only does this see Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen taking center stage following appearances in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, both versions of Justice League and Peacemaker, but the events of the movie are expected to have huge implications for the entire DC Extended Universe due to its exploration of the multiverse. However, given what’s been going with Miller in their personal life lately, there’s now a specific worry from Flash fans involving the movie’s release plan being overhauled entirely.
The last several months have seen Ezra Miller surrounded by controversy, including being arrested multiple times in Hawaii and having two protection orders served against them. Just yesterday, it was also shared that the actor is housing a woman and her three children on their Vermont farm, where there’s reportedly many unattended guns lying around and “frequent and heavy marijuana usage” in front of the kids. Even though The Flash is a year away from release, none of this is good press for the movie. To that end, some fans, such as Twitter user Nelson Carvajal, are speculating that The Flash will switch from a theatrical release to being released directly onto HBO Max.
What are the chances this could actually happen? Well, so far only two of the forthcoming live-action DC movies have been announced as going straight to HBO Max subscribers: Blue Beetle and Batgirl. Blue Beetle was later shifted to a theatrical release, and while Batgirl is still intended specifically for the streaming platform, there’s been speculation about if it could head to the big screen too. There were also once plans to make a Wonder Twins movie for HBO Max, but that project was scrapped after three months of development. Furthermore, following Discovery’s acquisition of WarnerMedia, it’s been reported that under the new corporate leadership, theatrical movies are being prioritized over streaming releases.
So right off the bat, that’s enough information to point to it being unlikely that The Flash becomes an HBO Max exclusive. Beyond that though, as indicated earlier, The Flash is expected to be a huge deal for the DCEU, if not the franchise’s most important release. The Scarlet Speedster’s solo movie has reportedly “been extraordinarily well received” in early test screenings, and since the premise involves Barry Allen traveling to other corners of the DC multiverse, where he’ll meet people like Michael Keaton’s Batman and Sasha Calle’s Supergirl, this story could set the stage for spinoffs and other crossover events. Also, Deadline reports that The Flash has a $200 million budget, meaning if it doesn’t get a theatrical release, it’ll end up being a huge loss for the studio.
I won’t go so far as to say that there’s a 100% guarantee that The Flash won’t be sent straight to HBO Max, but there’s certainly a lot pointing towards that not being an option. However, that still leaves the issue of how Warner Bros. will effectively be able to market a theatrically-released The Flash with Ezra Miller as its lead. It’s been suggested that The Flash filmmakers reshoot the movie with a new actor so that Miller can be sidestepped entirely. That would unquestionably be an expensive endeavor, but could pay off in the long run. For now, there’s no indication that WB is entertaining that idea, but it has been reported that it’s unlikely Miller will reprise Barry Allen in the DCEU following this movie.
Clearly there’s a lot of questions that need to be answered about how The Flash’s release will be handled, along with the many mysteries surrounding the movie itself, and CinemaBlend will share those answers once they’re revealed. For now, The Flash is still slated for a June 23, 2023 release.
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