In a midweek upset, Sony holdover Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and Pixar’s new animated Elemental edged out Warner Bros.’ DC superhero tentpole The Flash at the Wednesday box office.

Both The Flash and Elemental opened over the June 16-18 weekend to decidedly dismal results. The former started off with $55 million for the thee days, well behind expectations and notably below the $67 million collected by fellow DC pic Black Adam last year (Black Adam, starring Dwayne Johnson, was considered a major disappointment).

The Flash was one of the most-hyped titles on the 2023 summer release calendar, if not the year, despite star Ezra Miller’s personal problems and multiple arrests in 2022. All indications pointed to The Flash opening to $100 million or more domestically when Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav took the stage in late April at CinemaCon, triumphantly telling theater owners it was the best superhero pic he’d ever seen.

Yet the pic was rejected by a wide swath of the audience on opening weekend even as it placed No. 1, earning a mediocre B CinemaScore and equally tepid exit ratings on PostTrak.

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Elemental opened to an even worse $29.6 million, the lowest three-day start in Pixar’s history when adjusting 1995’s Toy Story for inflation. The silver lining: Elemental boasts an A CinemaScore and strong PostTrak exits, helping to explain why it beat The Flash on Wednesday with $3.5 million versus $3.1 million.

The animated sequel Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, now in its third week, won Wednesday overall with $3.8 million for a heroic domestic tally north of $294 million.

The Flash ended Wednesday with a six-day domestic cume of $69.5 million; and Elemental, $43.4 million.

All eyes will be on The Flash to see if it can reclaim its No. 1 standing Thursday on its way to winning the June 23-25 box office race, or whether Elemental‘s more positive word-of-mouth makes for a close contest.

Sony will have dual duties this weekend, between Spidey and Jennifer Lawrence’s new R-rated No Hard Feelings, which is tracking to open to $10 million to $12 million. The actress stars opposite Andrew Barth Feldman in the film, which is the first in a series of summer raunchy comedies hoping to revive the troubled genre at the box office (no easy task).

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The other new nationwide offering is Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City, which is expanding across the country after scoring the best per-location average at the specialty box office since La La Land in 2016. The Focus Features release is hoping for a debut in the $5 million range.

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