The Flash is sprinting into theaters worldwide, but could a lackluster box office performance speed up the film's release on streaming?
While some reviews are mixed, overall the movie has been received well so far, earning a 69% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes and a 95% audience score.
When Will The Flash Be Streaming Online?
Since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in 2020, Warner Bros. has completely changed, rearranged, and shortened its theatrical release window for major motion pictures.
During all of 2021 (under a previous regime) every theatrical movie was released simultaneously on HBO Max, the company's marquee streaming service is now simply called "Max" after adding in the Discovery+ streaming library.
Every movie studio has to navigate the post-pandemic theatrical landscape differently, for Warner Bros. it's been about finding a new normal.
This formula consists of theaters, available to rent or buy digitally, then streaming on Max and available to purchase on Blu-Ray and 4K discs.
For example, Fury of the Gods released in theaters on March 17, became available digitally less than a month later on April 7, then was available to purchase on 4K and Blu-ray and stream on Max on May 23.
In regards to The Flash, despite the Ezra Miller drama and poorly received DC films in recent memory, it will likely perform better than Black Adam or Shazam! 2.
This could extend the length of a theatrical release, but probably not by much.
July 14th could be a likely release date for audiences to begin watching The Flash digitally from home. This equates to 28 days after the theatrical release when films like Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny and Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One will be playing in theaters.
The Flash's Best Chances for Max Release
Tune into Succession, Fixer Upper, Zack Snyder's Justice League, and soon The Flash all streaming on Max "The One to Watch".
Fury of the Gods was a key new addition to the streamer on May 23, when Max launched, and was highly marketed. Warner Bros. Discovery said previously that DC is one of the conglomerate's most valuable assets, part of the reason director James Gunn was hired to lead the newly formed DC Studios.
The Flash will certainly be heavily marketed when being added to Max, probably focusing on both adding to the DCEU catalog and also the third film on the streamer featuring Keaton's Batman.
The timeframe between digital availability and when it begins streaming on Max could actually be smaller than it was for Shazam! 2. 2022's Black Adam was released on HBO Max on December 16, less than a month after it was available to buy online (November 22).
Following the trend, August 18 could be a realistic streaming date for The Flash on the service, 63 days after its theatrical release. Black Adam hit HBO Max 56 days after it opened in theaters and Shazam! 2 hit streaming 67 days after release.
However, in April, Casey Bloys, Chairman & CEO of HBO & HBO Max Content, said that The Flash movie will be streaming on Max "in the Fall after its exclusive run in theaters this June."
If that statement reigns true, then that'd push back The Flash's release on Max to late September. September 29 may be a realistic date if the studio wants to wait until fall, 105 days after its exclusive run in theaters begins.
The Flash is blazing into theaters worldwide Friday, June 16.