Poor Margot Robbie. She coined the mouthful of a title ‘Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)’ and even sealed it with a kiss. But after the underwhelming opening weekend, Warner Brothers has rechristened the “girl gang” flick as ‘Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey’. If you missed out on the movie this past weekend — and judging by the disappointing $33 million domestic haul, you did — should you decide to check it out, you will find it listed under the new title on the websites for AMC, Regal, and Cinemark.
As many critics have pointed out in their reviews, this movie was always misleadingly named. Robbie’s Harley Quinn was always intended to be the star, and the Birds of Prey — Mary Elizabeth Winstead as The Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary, and Rosie Perez as Gotham City police detective Renee Montoya — who don’t officially go by that name, are just her supporting cast.
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Warner Brothers has apparently felt this way for a while, as in the TV ads, the movie was never called by its full title, but rather “Harley Quinn in Birds of Prey.”
Mmm. I don’t think the name was the problem. The reviews for ‘Birds of Prey’ were mostly positive. Audiences have been impressed. There are a lot of theories as to why the film came in so low. The R-rating didn’t help, although that’s not a total obstacle, as other R-rated comic book movies have done well. Some speculate that the all-female lineup might have been a turn-off to some, but older males made up a higher percentage of audiences than females.
The fact of the matter is the DC movies from Warner Brothers aren’t the powerhouses that Disney’s Marvel movies are, and don’t inspire the same “must-see” mentality. Last year, ‘Shazam!’ similarly received a positive reaction from critics and viewers, but “only” made $365.9M at the global box office. That’s good, but not great.
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The budget for ‘Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey’ is reportedly $82M (per EW, this is lower than previous estimations), and it reportedly needs to make $250-300M to break even. With foreign grosses, it currently sits at $79M. At this point, that doesn’t seem likely. (But you never know!)
Cathy Yan directed the picture. Ella Jay Basco, Ewan McGregor, and Chris Messina co-star. ‘Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey’ is now playing in theaters.
Do you think this new name will help?