The revealed original DCEU plans for The Flash movie make its box office results even worse. The Flash has become one of the biggest box office bombs in cinema history, making $263 million overall, which is estimated to have lost Warner Bros around $200 million due to its low viewership and considerable budget. The negative reception that led to this result came for a series of reasons, involving both the plot itself, and the way in which the movie deals with the larger DC universe. One notable criticism revolved around the way The Flash handled tying the previous DCEU and its characters to the DCU.
For example, the decision to feature Ben Affleck’s Batman and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman in the early portion of the story raised questions for many viewers, especially since the movie ended with George Clooney’s Batman in Affleck’s place, despite it later being confirmed Clooney would not be the DCU Batman casting. This was initially explained by the reveal that one of the three endings of The Flash saw Affleck and Gadot reprise their roles in the movie’s closing scene – but might be even better explained by the initial plans for the movie, although this does make the complications surrounding The Flash itself worse.
The DCEU’s Justice League Sequel Plans Make The Flash’s Box Office Worse
DC storyboard artist Jay Oliva stated in an interview with Inverse that the reported original plans for the DCEU after Justice League was to follow up with The Flash. This would have introduced Reverse-Flash as a major ongoing antagonist of the franchise who would interfere with the lives of Barry Allen and the rest of the Justice League, eventually culminating in a Flashpoint adaptation to “reboot the universe and introduce a new cast that way.”
The Flash‘s issues look far worse from the perspective of the movie having been in the works since roughly 2017 as a Justice League sequel of sorts. While it’s clear this is in part due to the complications that the franchise dealt with from the release of the 2017 Justice League movie onwards, the framework for what the final version of the Flash movie would be can be seen in this description, making the criticisms of The Flash more pressing because the film received a generally negative consensus despite being part of the relatively lengthy creative process.
The Flash’s Original Plans Show How The DCEU’s Changes Affected Its Entire Run
While The Flash was marketed as a move away from the prior DCEU and the Snyderverse films, the description of the prior plans for Barry Allen’s first solo film suggest it struggled because it was first conceived of as more directly linked to these exact movies. Without that backdrop to draw on – and indeed, an increasing need to separate from that side of the franchise in order to try and make plans clearer for the future with the DCU – The Flash was left in an increasingly temperamental situation, and with a lot to try and balance in its runtime, making its reception emblematic of the complications the DCEU has dealt with throughout its run.