Has Ezra Miller’s past caught up with his lead role in ‘The Flash’ as it disappoints at the US box office?

The film, which was highly anticipated after a slew of strong reviews, has only taken in $55 million at the box office on its opening weekend.

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Has the past behaviour caught up with the star of DC’s fastest man in the universe? Though reviews for DC’s latest instalment in the DC Extended Universe (as far as marketing goes anyway), ‘The Flash,’ have credited it as the film to save the ailing superhero genre, it would appear that audiences have yet to be convinced of the box office appeal of Ezra Miller. Some indicate that the over-saturated genre is in somewhat of a freefall anyway, however many have speculated that it was Miller’s transgressions ahead of the film’s release that have caused such a box office failure. 

The film opened over the weekend in the United States at the number one position at the box office, beating off another box office disappointment - Pixar’s ‘Elemental’ - but only earning $55 million USD upon opening. That is lower than another ‘Black Adam’ starring Dwayne Johnson in 2022, but higher than ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’, the last two movies as part of the DCEU canon and both of which received less favourable reviews from critics than ‘The Flash.’

But the real concern comes in the form of audience scores for ‘The Flash’; a movie’s CinemaScore is calculated based on an average of the letter ratings given by audiences straight out of the theatres, essentially meaning it is based on the initial reaction of the general public.

‘The Flash’ CinemaScore was a B; the lowest CinemaScore since the DCEU first began, and it sits below both ‘Black Adam’ and ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods.’ In contrast, Zack Snyder’s ‘Man of Steel’ is currently the highest rated DCEU property according to CinemaScore, with a rating of ‘A-,’ earning the distinction of the only DCEU movie to get a grade of A or higher. 

So has the problematic behaviour of Ezra Miller, who has since discussed making a better effort to cope with his mental health. But was it just Miller’s transgressions that have put people off the latest DCEU film that, despite a cast including Michael Keaton, has had a history behind the scenes of varying issues?

What controversies was Ezra Miller involved in before the release of ‘The Flash’?

Andy Muschietti and Ezra Miller attend the Los Angeles premiere of Warner Bros. "The Flash" at Ovation Hollywood on June 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images)Andy Muschietti and Ezra Miller attend the Los Angeles premiere of Warner Bros. "The Flash" at Ovation Hollywood on June 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images)
Andy Muschietti and Ezra Miller attend the Los Angeles premiere of Warner Bros. "The Flash" at Ovation Hollywood on June 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images)

‘The Flash’ movie faced numerous setbacks and changes before its release. Originally announced in 2014, the film experienced delays and director changes over the years. Phil Lord and Chris Miller were initially involved, followed by Seth Grahame-Smith, Rick Famuyiwa, and Joby Harold. Eventually, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein were attached, but they also departed. Finally, Andy Muschietti took over as director, with Christina Hodson as the writer.

Ezra Miller, who portrays the Flash, faced a series of controversies off-screen. In April 2020, a video surfaced showing Miller appearing to choke a woman at a bar in Reykjavik, Iceland. Miller was later arrested in Hawaii in March 2022 for disorderly conduct and harassment at a karaoke bar, followed by another arrest in April for second-degree assault. Additionally, accusations of grooming and manipulation were made by activist Chase Iron Eyes and another parent, along with allegations of harassment in Germany.

In August 2022, Miller was charged with felony burglary in Vermont for allegedly stealing alcohol. Miller later issued a public statement, acknowledging mental health issues and committing to seeking treatment. Some of the charges in Vermont were dropped, and Miller pleaded guilty to unlawful trespassing, agreeing to a fine, probation, and mental health treatment. 

What is the future of ‘The Flash’ since the film’s release?

Although there are no immediate plans for a sequel in the rebooted DC Universe, director Andy Muschietti expressed his support for Miller's portrayal of the Flash, stating that no one else could play the character as well. 

Miller expressed gratitude towards the film's team and Warner Bros. Discovery executives for their understanding and support throughout their personal struggles.

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