“Birds of Prey” a Monumental Flop for WB: Female Superhero Film Opens at Just $33 Million

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Image: Warner Bros.

2016’s Suicide Squad was somewhat of a critical and financial flop for Warner Bros. and the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), but its latest spin-off, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) has managed to fare even worse.

Despite early projections of $50 to $55 million, the female superhero team-up flick earned only $33.2 million during its initial debut this weekend. That makes it the worst opening of all time for a DCEU film, second only to 2010’s Jonah Hex, which opened to an embarrassing $5.3 million.

As of Sunday, Birds of Prey has made $81.2 million worldwide, but the domestic result remains significantly lower than what Warner Bros. had hoped for. The film did cost around $100 million less to make than Suicide Squad, but insiders suggest that it won’t even get past that amount stateside.

The numbers are interesting because Birds of Prey’s critical reception has been pretty positive. The film currently has an 80 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, and its audience rating of 82 percent is pretty good, too.

So what happened? A lot of fans surmise that Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), who leads the movie, isn’t as popular as Warner Bros. and DC thinks she is. One of the more interesting aspects of the character is her dynamic with the Joker, but the clown prince of crime is completely AWOL in this one.

Instead, it’s just Quinn and her band of misfits, which comprise The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), and Batgirl Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco). Ewan McGregor brings a little bit of star power with his portrayal of Roman Sionis, otherwise known as Black Mask, but it wasn’t enough to get people in the seats.

Birds of Prey’s R-rating may have also been a strange choice for a film that boasted quirky, child-like visuals and production design. Luckily for Warner Bros., there isn’t too much in the way of competition this month, so maybe it can still earn its budget back.

Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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