'The Flash' hits theaters after years of hype and accusations against star Ezra Miller

Key Points
  • "The Flash" arrives in theaters at a time of significant change at DC Studios and amid a string of legal controversies for its star Ezra Miller.
  • The movie is expected to generate between $75 million to $85 million domestically during its opening weekend.

In this article

Ezra Miller at the premiere of "The Flash" held at TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX on June 12, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
Christopher Polk | Variety | Getty Images

After nearly a decade in development, "The Flash" is finally speeding into theaters this weekend.

The Warner Bros. Discovery feature arrives at a time of significant change at the company and after a string of legal controversies for its star, Ezra Miller.

With a predicted opening in the range of $75 million to $85 million, "The Flash" is expected to be a welcome box-office contribution to the DC Comics franchise. In addition to Miller, it features Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck reprising their Batman roles from earlier films.

Recent entrants — "Black Adam" and "Shazam: Fury of the Gods" — failed to gain traction with audiences, together generating just more that $500 million globally.

"Black Adam" opened to $67 million domestically in October and the "Shazam!" sequel tallied just $30.1 million during its first three days in theaters earlier this year. Both films were widely panned by critics.

"The Flash" has garnered more favorable reviews on its way toward its Friday debut, with several critics ranking it among the best DC movies.

There were fears that the film may never see the light of day after Miller, who goes by the pronouns they and them, made headlines in 2020 for a video that showed them appearing to violently choke a fan. Further incidents of impropriety escalated in 2022, when Miller was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and harassment at a karaoke bar in Hawaii. Miller was also accused of grooming minors.

Last year, Miller admitted they had "gone through a time of intense crisis" and would undergo treatment for "complex mental health issues" in the way of being charged with felony burglary in Stamford, Vermont. Miller ultimately avoided jail time with a plea deal struck in January.

The actor has largely been absent from the public eye since that time, making a return for "The Flash" premiere in Los Angeles on Monday. They have not done any major interviews or promotions for the film and it has been reported that Warner Bros. does not currently plan any future projects with them.

Ahead of Monday's screening, Miller addressed the audience at Ovation Hollywood, thanking co-chairs and co-chief executive officers of DC Studios, Peter Safran and James Gunn, for their "grace and discernment and care."

Safran and Gunn joined forces at DC in November following years of inconsistent box-office performances from the studio. The pair announced a new slate of DC-based films and TV shows in January, including new movies featuring Superman, Batman and Supergirl. Gunn, who just wrapped up a successful run with DC rival Marvel and his "Guardians of the Galaxy" trilogy, is writing and directing "Superman: Legacy."

"The Flash" — alongside "Blue Beetle," due in August, and "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom," slated for December — mark the last remnants of the old DC Extended Universe (DCEU).