Warner Bros/DC’s The Flash has raced to an estimated $9.7m in more than 3,400 theatres in North American Thursday previews ahead of its wide release this Juneteenth holiday weekend.
‘The Flash’: Review
The strong numbers compare favourably with Sony’s comic book adaptation Venom, which earned $10m en route to an $80.3m opening weekend in October 2018.
Tracking has indicated The Flash will finish the weekend on around $70m and it could go higher in light of positive exit polling on Thursday, setting it up for solid word of mouth.
Key to that is Ezra Miller, whose lead performance is well liked in Hollywood, and a lot of screen time for fan favourite Michael Keaton as Batman.
However Miller has made headlines for the wrong reasons since 2022 after arrests and their declaration of mental health issues.
That forced the Warner Bros marketing team to largely keep Miller – who attended the premiere in Los Angeles – as a peripheral figure in its promotional efforts. The studio has also been unable to showcase talent during the writers strike, as late night talk shows have been dark. Andy Muschietti (It franchise) directed. The film has earned a 68% Rotten Tomatoes score.
Separately Disney/Pixar’s Elemental earned an estimated $2.4m in Thursday previews. The opening weekend is expected to be in the $30m range. This would be at the lower end for Pixar debuts. The animation will play in 4,035 sites.
‘Elemental’: Cannes Review
Pixar faces the considerable task of clawing back its brand status since Disney under the Bob Chapek regime sent most Pixar films straight to Disney+ during the pandemic.
One theory that has been circulating in Hollywood for some time – and which was given credence by Pixar CEO Peter Docter in an interview with a Hollywood trade on Friday – is that this distribution strategy has taught audiences that the first place to watch a new release from the once formidable hit factory is at home. That represents a big challenge for theatrical distribution executives.
The last Pixar film to open exclusively in theatres was Toy Story spin-off Lightyear, which opened in June 2022 on $50m and finished on a lowly $118m in North American and $226.4m worldwide.
Prior to Lightyear the last exclusive theatrical release for a Pixar film was Onward in March 2020 at the start of Covid, which earned a paltry $61.6m in North America and $141.9m globally.
Elemental closed Cannes Film Festival and reviews have been generally positive with a 77% Rotten Tomateos score.
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