'The Flash' Marketing: No Ezra Miller, but lots of Batman and TV commercials

‘The Flash’ Marketing: No Ezra Miller, but lots of Batman and TV commercials

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In late August 2022, Ezra Miller traveled to Warner Bros. for their first meeting with film presidents Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy. The sit-down followed months of legal and personal troubles for the actor, with a string of arrests and bad headlines threatening to derail. The flashthe $200 million film Miller had been awarded since 2014. A few weeks earlier, Miller had apologized for their behavior — which included breaking in and suffocating a woman in Iceland in an accident caught on video — citing “complex mental health problems”.

The question on everyone’s mind that August day: Could Miller stay out of trouble, and out of the headlines, long enough to The flash enter theaters safely? Ten months later, the answer appears to be yes. Not only has Miller stayed out of the headlines, but the actor is nowhere to be found in the press as the film races toward its June 16 release date.

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Instead of hyping its star, the studio focused on the film itself, hyping it to perhaps unrealistic levels. CEO David Zaslav and DC Studios co-head James Gunn have publicly stated that the film is among the greatest superhero films of all time. This has prompted baffled head-shakes from some at Warners who question the wisdom of setting such high expectations.

“It can’t be the studio telling you it’s okay, your friends have to tell you it’s okay,” says an insider.

The first reviews, dropped on June 6, are solid, but not the kind of warnings received by The dark Knightconsidered the greatest film of the genre. The flash it currently sports 72 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, good enough to beat JokerWarner’s 2019 Oscar winner, $1 billion hit with a 69% rating.

The studio is facing several other headwinds that are impacting its projected opening: $70-75 million. Some superhero movie fatigue is real, as is the perception that these upcoming DC movies, including August’s Blue Beetle and in December Aquaman and the lost kingdomare less urgent because Warner is relaunching a series of all-new films, with new actors who will play the superhero roles, under the aegis of DC Studios heads Gunn and Peter Safran.

It is not clear how much is perception and how much is reality. Both executives said that some actors from the current universe may still be lingering, and one that seems very likely is Xolo Maridueña, whose Blue Beetle character has close ties in the comics to Booster Gold. Gunn and Safran are planning their own Booster Gold show, and it’s possible Blue Beetle could appear in it, depending Cockroachthe reception this summer.

So far, Warners has sidelined Miller from the press in favor of director Andy Muschietti, producer Barbara Muschietti, and Supergirl actor Sasha Calle as ambassadors for the film.

On June 12, Miller is expected to attend the film’s premiere, which will likely be billed as a “fan event,” one in which stars walk the carpet but don’t answer reporters’ questions. The studio has previous experience in such hybrid events. In April 2022 he held an event in New York for Fantastic Beasts: Dumbledore’s Secretswho was mired in his own disputes with author JK Rowling, recast Johnny Depp — and even Miller, who was arrested in Hawaii days before the event.

Instead of hyping its star, the studio enlisted famous champions, courting celebs for advance screenings. Stephen King saw it. (“I don’t normally care much for superhero movies, but this one is special. It’s heartfelt and funny and mind blowing,” he tweeted.) Jaden Smith too. (“ummm best movie ever,” he wrote on Instagram.) Tom Cruise was also invited to an advance screening at his home. (He didn’t tweet his review, but he reportedly liked it.) Indeed, the study mounted what one person described as one of the most robust screening campaigns in recent memory to build buzz, with dozens of thousands reporting they saw her.

Rival studios note that the studio has spent heavily on commercials and especially trailers, running the latter during the NBA playoffs. An executive believes Warner spent more than $14 million on the NBA alone, though that also included a spot for Barbie.

“They are spending huge, huge. This is a massive campaign,” says the executive familiar with these launches. A Warners insider says the figure was less.

And if he can not rely Fast to get them involved, he hopes Batman, one of the world’s greatest superheroes, can do it, as well as the nostalgia factor for a return of Michael Keaton. Both have been heavily profiled in campaigns, and Keaton attended a fan event in London this past weekend.

But it’s unclear whether it’s resonating. Having both Keaton and Ben Affleck as Batman drew comparisons to the ground the blockbuster has trod Spider-Man: There’s no way back home (unfairly, like Fast was originally supposed to hit theaters before that film). And on the flip side, viewers can feel like they just saw a Batman movie, in the form of Robert Pattinson The Batmanreleased in 2022.

“They’re not promoting Flash as a character because they can’t,” says a rival studio executive about not focusing too much on Miller.

Normally, studios would have a movie stars cover the late night talk shows, but due to the writers’ strike, those shows were shut down. It was a big blow to movies, but in the case of Fast, which may have proved beneficial. Miller isn’t conspicuously absent from the shows, and the co-stars don’t have to answer awkward questions about their troubled star.

“It hurt everyone equally,” says the rival executive, “but in their case, it hurts them less.”

One bright spot for Warners has been director Andy Muschietti, who is a firm favorite at the studio after the success It movie. While Miller’s future with DC is an open question, Muschietti’s doesn’t appear to be. He is the best choice to direct the Batman movie The brave and the daringmultiple sources say DAYthough there’s no script – and therefore no formal commitment from the director – until a post-writers strike materializes.