DC’s highly anticipated superhero pic The Flash is finally here.

The movie, starring Ezra Miller in the titular role, started off its North American box office run with $9.7 million in previews. As a way of comparison, Sony’s Venom started off with $10 million in previews on its way to a domestic opening of $80.3 million.

The Flash has been tracking to open in the $70 million range over Father’s Day weekend, but Warner Bros. is counting on an upside. The studio’s leadership has been hyping the movie for months. “It’s the best superhero movie I’ve ever seen,” WBD CEO David Zaslav told theater owners at CinemaCon in late April before they were shown the film in full.

The film is the second Hollywood superhero pic of summer 2023 after Marvel and Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which grossed $17.3 million in previews on its way to a $118 million domestic debut.

The Flash opens after a tumultuous 2022 for Miller, who was arrested multiple times and was the subject of controversies, culminating in the actor issuing a statement in August of last year apologizing for their behavior and saying they would receive help for “complex mental health issues.” The actor walked the red carpet at the movie’s premiere, but has otherwise been absent from doing publicity.

Miller stars in dual roles as alternate timeline versions of heroic speedster Barry Allen, with Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck making splashy returns of their respective Batman roles (in Keaton’s case, it’s a return to a character he hasn’t played since 1991). Sasha Calle stars as Supergirl, while Michael Shannon reprises his role of General Zod from the 2013 feature Man of Steel.

After the tepid showing of Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Black Adam, Warner’s DC movies could use a box office hit.

Ditto for Pixar, which has Elemental opening this weekend. If tracking is correct, the movie could open in the mid-$30 million range, one of the lowest showings ever for the Disney-owned animation studio.

During the worst of the pandemic, Pixar movies were sent sent straight to Disney+, so the storied animation has only released one title in theaters — Lightyear — since Onward, excluding re-releases. Onward opened on March 6, 2020, days before the COVID-19 crisis resulted in unprecedented theater closures. Lightyear was a disappointment, topping out at $226.4 million globally in summer 2022.

Directed by Peter Sohn (The Good Dinosaur), the film is set in Element City, where fire, water, land and air residents live together. Its themes include connection, celebrating differences and finding one’s place in the world.

The story follows Ember (Leah Lewis), a tough, quick-witted and fiery young woman whose friendship with a sappy, go-with-the-flow guy named Wade (Mamoudou Athiec) challenges her beliefs about the world they live in, where “elements don’t mix.”

More to come.


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