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Saturday, December 2, 2023

The Peculiar State of Hype Surrounding Ezra Miller’s The Flash

Amidst a flurry of positive press, The Flash is generating astonishing attention, but it’s the scandal attached to the movie that remains the focal point. Warner Bros. faces the challenge of moving forward with a lead actor marred by a recent history of violent crimes and disturbing behavior. However, with support from celebrities like Tom Cruise and Stephen King, the studio is determined to power through the controversy.

While the film received a warm reception at CinemaCon, official reviews are yet to be published. Warner Bros. has invested over $200 million in The Flash as a star-studded farewell to the Zack Snyder era of the DC franchise. The studio hopes for a substantial theatrical release, counting on the film’s financial success despite Ezra Miller’s highly publicized arrests and abuse allegations, including assault and burglary charges, as well as reports of concerning behavior and delusions.

In a calculated effort to restore Miller’s image, The Flash’s publicity machine presents it as a groundbreaking and essential superhero movie, boldly asserting that the scandals surrounding the actor are inconsequential. Warner Bros. is taking a risky gamble, betting on the film’s potential to overshadow the controversies and establish itself as a must-see cinematic experience.

The Flash’s Unconventional PR Strategy: Hype, Controversy, and Celebrity Endorsements

Warner Bros.’s marketing approach for The Flash takes an unconventional route, relying on reactions from private screenings and endorsements from celebrities before critics and mainstream audiences have had a chance to weigh in. This strategy has generated media coverage with controversial statements like Warner Bros. CEO David Zaslav claiming it’s the best superhero movie he’s ever seen, which some view as predictable praise.

While private screenings and support from studio executives are common promotional tactics, The Flash has received attention-grabbing headlines, such as Tom Cruise personally calling the director to express his love for the film. This has raised eyebrows, especially for those who still perceive The Flash as a problematic project. Consequently, when Stephen King praised the movie on Twitter, he faced accusations of being a paid shill, highlighting the skepticism surrounding celebrity endorsements.

The underlying premise of this marketing strategy is that The Flash could genuinely be a masterpiece, although that doesn’t invalidate concerns about Ezra Miller’s involvement. Making a good movie doesn’t erase the harm caused by an individual, and some people feel uneasy about supporting Miller’s career.

The initial wave of publicity for The Flash, lacking a traditional marketing campaign centered on the lead actor, resembles influencer-driven product promotion on platforms like TikTok and Instagram. The most buzzworthy comments about the film are enthusiastic yet vague, originating from celebrities granted exclusive access.

There’s a hint of desperation in this type of praise, not only due to the Ezra Miller situation but also because of Warner Bros.’ stake in the success of their tentpole franchise. The studio’s future could be at risk if The Flash were to collapse. Could the involvement of Tom Cruise, a revered figure in the realm of moviegoing, be a calculated move to safeguard Warner Bros. from financial ruin? Or perhaps we are delving too deep into conspiracy theories. Time will reveal whether The Flash lives up to the hype when it hits theaters next month.

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