‘The Flash’ Movie Loses Director Over Creative Differences

Seth Grahame-Smith
Eric Charbonneau/REX Shutterstock

Seth Grahame-Smith is leaving as director of “The Flash” due to “creative differences” with Warner Bros.

“The Flash” would have been the feature directorial debut for Grahame-Smith, who authored and wrote the screenplays for “Pride & Prejudice & Zombies” and “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”

Grahame-Smith wrote the script for “The Flash,” based on a treatment from Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Ezra Miller is starring as the speedy superhero — also known as Barry Allen — and was introduced in Warner’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which disappointed at the box office.

Warner Bros. has set “The Flash” for release on March 3, 2018, so it may not have to shift that date should it be able to get another director on board soon.

Miller is also appearing as The Flash in “Justice League Part 1,” which began shooting this month with Zack Snyder directing.

The Flash character originated during the 1950s when police scientist Barry Allen gained super-speed when bathed by chemicals that had been struck by lightning.

Grahame-Smith is a writer on the studio’s “Lego Batman Movie” and is working on its “Beetlejuice” sequel.

Warner Bros. faced a similar situation with a director departing a key DC property over “creative differences” a year ago when Michelle MacLaren left “Wonder Woman” and was replaced two days later by Patty Jenkins. “Wonder Woman” is due to open on June 2, 2017.

The departure of Grahame-Smith also comes in the wake of a box office performance for “Batman v Superman” that was impressive in its opening days, but then saw sharp slides in attendance. Current worldwide total for the tentpole is $855 million — enough to be moderately profitable but well short of $1 billion milestone that’s the current yardstick for success.

The news was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

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  1. Jeff Dentzer says:

    $860 million (and still climbing) is a disappointment? I’ll take that disappointment any say.

  2. Less than NO interest in a THIRD actor playing The Flash. Gustin should play him. End of

  3. john gonzalez says:

    Maybe they should let the people from the tv show take over. The tv DC universe is looking good. Just imagine what they could do on a movie budget.

  4. KenRock says:

    I’m glad WB has no control over ben affleck with his own batman movie. He sign a deal that let him do whatever he wants with batman so it will be a great movie.

    • JoeMcG says:

      Where on earth did you hear that!? How can you read Variety and not know how Hollywood works? I’m quite sure the Studio still has control. He who has the $$ makes the rules.

  5. Thomas says:

    Reality: Zack Snyder should have been fired but wasn’t. That means WB is essentially a failed state and everyone else is at risk. In failed states, anyone can wind up taking the fall. If you’re involved in the DCEU and not afraid for your job, you should be. Anyone not looking for a way out is making the mistake of their careers. Those who haven’t cancel the slate, you already have.

  6. daniel says:

    This movie is gonna suck!

  7. frp reality says:

    Anyone who values their career should be looking for an out. The franchise is a career killer.

  8. JonL says:

    The Flash originated in 1940 when Jay Garrick experienced a laboratory mishap. Barry Allen was not the first Flash. Need to get them there facts straight to do a proper article.

  9. loco73 says:

    How does this guy even qualify as a director?! Honestly, in this desperate search to look for the “next and newest talent” outhere, these studios are picking so-called “directors on criteria that boggles the mind! Other than a desire to get one of these “for hire” type of directors, over which they can exert greater control and influence, I cannot for the life of me understand why they would even consider this guy to head off a large production such as this? Even the practice of hiring directors, who have only one of two movies under their belt, usually indies, seems also self-serving and wrongheaded!

    Speaking for myself, I did not like “Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice” or as I call it “Batnipples V. Superboringman: Dawn Of Justin Bieber”… for various reasons which I will not get into. But I have to scratch my head at that line basically saying that an $855 million box office take now qualifies as a failure. I would hate to see what success must look like these days!

    • Steve Marra says:

      loco73 OMG! Dude! You nailed it. Has WB even seen the abysmal “Abe Lincoln” and “P & P & Z?” Holy shit! Seth Grahame-Smith has no sense of story structure, drama or deapth of character. Do Not Give this guy any more money for films. Must have studied film at the Damon Lindelof school of screenwriting. I’ll direct “THE FLASH” for you guys and I’ll take 30% of Smith’s fee to do it.

    • $855 million box office is the gross, look at the rental fees actually returned from the theaters and the fact the the $96M from China is only $24M in revenue… spells zero return.

      (((855M gross – 96M China) * .5) + (96M China * .25)) – 150+M P&A cost – 250M+ Budget = The Studio is flipping out

      • loco73nce says:

        Fair enough about the breakdown of box office proceeds. I guess I was thinking more along the lines that this is not a catastrophic failure, or a complete write-off. Basically this isn’t “John Carter” or “The Lone Ranger”… But there is little doubt in my mind that the studio will manage to generate other revenue streams and put the movie in the winning column. Personally I I don’t care, as I’ve said, I didn’t particularly enjoyed or liked “Batman V. Superman”. Yet it’s clear that the lukewarm reception this movie received at the box office originated from its humongous budget, it is also indicative a of a problem more and more franchise movies will face as well as experience because of their ever expanding budgets…

  10. BillUSA says:

    Like I commented elsewhere, I have nothing against Ezra Miller, but Grant Gustin deserves the gig. But then again, we’re talking WB/DC Comics here.

    • Red Queen says:

      Separate universes. The movies do not take place in the same universe as the shows. And how do you know that Grant deserves it more when you haven’t seen Ezra in the role yet (what we’ve seen in BvS in not nearly enough to judge)?

  11. For a guy who has never directed a film he should watch out. He’s directed 2 episodes of an MTV show. Despite his credits as a writer he should be glad he was getting the chance to direct a film of that level.

  12. rick says:

    Another bvs hater looking for validation when the movie is a hit!! Let it go…trying to call 850million movie disappointment which made over 600 million In profit..

    • Johnnie says:

      How did the movie make $600M in profit?
      It costs $250M to make, grossed $850M, so its profit was $600M?
      Do you have any idea how movie finances work?

      • No one understands what “Box Office Gross” mean, I laugh ever time I see a posting like that.

        (((855M gross – 96M China) * .5) + (96M China * .25)) – 150+M P&A cost – 250M+ Budget = The Studio needed 1B in box office gross to see the profit that their share holders were expecting. If you add in the time-value of money and that the large portion of studio’s budget was tied up for over 2 years they could have made more putting the cash into government bonds ;-)

  13. Mike says:

    The Flash needs a director and Grant Gustin is what it needs

  14. tlsnyder42 says:

    I don’t know. Most of my favorite action-oriented movies whatever the genre have some humor in them. I understand what people like Christopher Nolan are trying to accomplish, but, “Why so serious?!?”

    • john gonzalez says:

      And The Flash has always been one of the more sarcastic and funny DC superheroes. If they try to make Flash as serious as BvS, it will bomb like Green Lantern.

  15. JR says:

    My guess is that this is part of the damage done by people complaining about BvS. Warners probably wanted to change it from a serious movie to a more light-hearted tone, perhaps more in line with the typical quip-laden Marvel product. We already know that Saw director James Wan is now stating that Aquaman will be ” swashbuckling fun on the high seas.” Yawn
    So it is possible that’s the Flash will be similarly castrated.

  16. EricJ says:

    We kept telling Warner “Get OTHER directors!”, and now they can’t even do that…

  17. Write an original concept already says:

    Good. He rose to fame on gimmick stories.

  18. Phillip Ayling says:

    What creative difference could there be? They had already decided that Grant Gustin was a good small screen Flash, but not appropriate for the tone of their theatrical. Seth Grahame-Smith had to know going in that Zack Snyder had already defined his Flash character for him.

  19. Cass says:

    Flash is a good tv hero. Stand alone movie? I have serious doubts.

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