The Flash Movie Is One of The Biggest Box Office Flops in Hollywood History

By Richard Nebens Posted:
The Flash Box Office

After finally hitting theaters for Warner Bros., the DCU's latest movie, The Flash, joins an unfortunate list of the biggest flops and box office bombs in Hollywood film history.

It's no secret that The Flash didn't live up to any kinds of expectations for the DC Universe, ranking as the worst flop in Warner Bros.' long history following its premiere in theaters earlier this summer.

But while Ezra Miller's solo outing reaches one new low after another during its stay on the big screen, it only continues to find itself next to other lowlights from movie history.

The Flash Becomes One of Hollywood's Biggest Flops

After debuting on June 16, DC Studios' The Flash now ranks as one of the biggest flops in cinema history, only grossing $263 million globally as of Monday, July 17.

Below are examples of comparable flops from Hollywood history that rank close to The Flash in terms of box office and revenue losses.

Strange World (2022) - $197 million

Strange World
Strange World

After receiving the worst audience score in Disney history, Strange World fared equally bad from a financial standpoint as well, only grossing just under $70 million globally. This film follows the Clades family as they take a journey to a mysterious planet called Avalonia, with this movie being Disney's 61st animated film.

This cost Disney $197 million in losses, turning it into one of the company's worst animated flops in history; expenses came in at nearly $320 million when all was said and done.

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003)- $199 million

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas

Brad Pitt, Michelle Pfieffer, and Catherine Zeta-Jones provided their voice talents to Dreamworks Animation's animated Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, which was written by Aladdin screenwriters Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio. Disney had canceled the original idea for this movie before Dreamworks revived it for its own new slate of films.

Only grossing just over $80 million on a budget of close to $60 million, Sinbad was part of what led to Dreamworks being bought by Paramount in a massive merger during the mid-2000s.

The Flash (2023) - $200 million

The Flash
The Flash

The Flash had no shortage of difficulties ahead of its debut, facing nearly a decade's worth of delays before becoming one of the final movies in this era of DCEU storytelling. While it only ranks as the fifth-lowest total in DCEU history above movies like Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Wonder Woman 1984, The Flash's budget is the problem in this scenario.

Before marketing costs, The Flash's budget totaled anywhere from $200 million to $220 million, meaning the film didn't even make back its budget at the box office. In total, the movie will wind up losing approximately $200 million for Warner Bros.

Cutthroat Island (1995) - $202 million

Cutthroat Island
Cutthroat Island

Led by Oscar-winner Geena Davis, MGM's Cutthroat Island told the story of a buccaneer's daughter who finds a map to buried treasure before she's forced to fight her uncle in order to obtain the prize. But the movie is better known for its litany of problems behind the scenes, which included multiple rewrites and recasting before the film was released largely to negative reviews.

Cutthroat Island only grossed a minuscule $10 million on a budget that ranged from $90 million to $100 million, resulting in $202 million in losses for the studio behind this historic flop.

Mortal Engines (2018) - $204 million

Mortal Engines
Mortal Engines

Featuring big names like Hugo Weaving and Stephen Lang, Mortal Engines travels thousands of years into the future with giant moving cities now traveling all over the planet and taking over smaller towns and their inhabitants.

This movie only grossed $85 million opposite a production budget that was estimated to be as high as $150 million, costing Universal $204 million in losses.

The 13th Warrior (1999) - $227 million

The 13th Warrior
The 13th Warrior

Antonio Banderas' The 13th Warrior is based on Michael Crichton's 1976 book Eaters of the Dead, which loosely adapts Shakespeare's Beowulf combined with a historical account of the Volga Vikings. 

This film set a record for one of the biggest flops in history, with its budget ranging anywhere from $85 million to as high as $160 million. Taking that into account with production and marketing costs after it grossed $161 million at the box office, the losses totaled up to $227 million as it became the biggest flop of 1999.

The Lone Ranger (2013) - $239 million

The Lone Ranger
The Lone Ranger

Featuring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer, director Gore Verbinski put forth a Lone Ranger remake that showed the titular hero's early adventures alongside Tonto as the duo fights for justice in the America Old West. This marked the first theatrical movie featuring the Lone Ranger in 32 years since 1981's The Legend of the Lone Ranger.

With a massively inflated budget that approached $250 million amidst production setbacks and disputes over finances, The Lone Ranger only grossed $260 million and wound up losing $239 million for Disney.

John Carter (2012) - $255 million

John Carter
John Carter

Based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barroom series of novels, Toy Story and Obi-Wan Kenobi writer Andrew Stanton took a stab at directing the John Carter movie, featuring the lead character's adventure to mediate civil unrest within Barsoom's warring kingdoms.

Only grossing just over $250 million, John Carter had an insanely expensive budget of nearly $350 million and had what is considered to be one of the worst marketing campaigns in history. It eventually wound up losing $255 million for Disney, making it the biggest flop in history.

Will The Flash's Bombing Affect DC Moving Forward?

Even though the entire landscape of the DCU is now changing with James Gunn and Peter Safran involved, Warner Bros. and DC Studios are sure to be mindful of their upcoming releases in order to be as successful as possible after The Flash.

The companies will surely look to lower costs whenever possible, which has already been seen through Batgirl being canceled along with other major moves to save money as the studio looks to become profitable once again.

But with the newly rebooted franchise not set to even start for at least a year, if not a little longer, it may take some time for the DC team to recover from the disappointment that The Flash delivered.

The Flash is now playing in theaters worldwide.