Margot Robbie’s Birds of Prey film bombed at the box office this weekend.
Weekend estimates have arrived with The Numbers reporting, “Birds of Prey is missing even very low end expectations with an estimated opening weekend of $32.5 million.”
This comes after all of the major box office tracking websites significantly lowered their box office estimates after an extremely poor Thursday night preview. Even those lowered predictions were way off.
Not only did the film perform extremely poorly at the domestic box office, but it also only brought in $48 million at the international box office for an $81.2 million worldwide take on opening weekend.
The-Numbers, Box Office Mojo, and Box Office Pro were not short of explanations for why the film failed take to flight in its opening weekend.
The-Numbers believes the international box office is due to the coronoavirus, “Part of this has to do with the coronavirus, which has caused major disruptions in many Asian countries.”
Box Office Pro put the blame for the domestic box office’s low numbers on the lack of turnout from young females and “the usual male-driven fan base of comic book films.” They also cited the “lukewarm marketing push” and the “remaining connections to the divisive Suicide Squad.” They also cited a lack of interest in a return to the DC Extended Universe, which the original Suicide Squad was part of. Other factors that they cite were unknown characters and an R-rating.
Box Office Mojo stated “there just wasn’t enough audience.” They also believed the R-rating might have been “a major reason the film struggled to take flight” citing that younger viewers rated the film higher.
Box Office Pro’s explanation is probably the closest as to why the film is performing poorly.
Birds of Prey disrespected its source material and insulted long-time comic book fans by radically changing the entire premise of Birds of Prey. It added in psychopath Harley Quinn and eliminated founding member of the Birds of Prey, Oracle aka Barbara Gordon.
None of the other characters were even recognizable as their comic book counterparts even Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn didn’t even look like the iconic character in any of her varied variations. Most of the posters and trailers didn’t even have her wearing her iconic black and red color scheme.
Black Canary, Cassandra Cain, Black Mask, Victor Zsasz, Huntress, and Renee Montoya were unrecognizable in all of the promotional material. The only way you knew who those characters were was because they put the character names on the posters.
Margot Robbie noted these character design changes were to make the film less “male male gaze-y.”
Not only were the characters unrecognizable, but they also changed much of the character’s actual personalities and characteristics in the film. Looking at you Cassandra Cain, Black Mask, and Victor Zsasz.
Blaming the movie’s box office take on the R-rating is a little absurd given Joker’s box office take just this past Fall. You also have other comic book films like Deadpool and Logan excelling as R-rated films, not to mention one of the first comic book films in Blade excelling with an R-rating.
Dropping the R-rating because younger audiences gave it a higher rating, doesn’t actually get butts in seats. Box Office Pro even refutes their own analysis stating that people aged 25 and under only made up 35% of the audience. The other 65% were 25 and older.
Box Office Pro’s explanation of a lack of interest in the DCEU also seems far-fetched given the recent successes of Shazam! and Aquaman, both of which were tied to the DCEU.
Maybe one of the most underrated issues was the film’s marketing. Regardless of what the actual product was, the film was marketed by Ewan McGregor as a “feminist film that tackled misogyny.” No one wants to go and spend their hard earned money on a film that is selling itself as a high school lecture by the principal.
And maybe the biggest complaint, which Box Office Pro does address, is the film just looked bland in its trailers. There was nothing that really grabbed you and made you want to spend your money to see it.
All three tracking websites were still optimistic about Birds of Prey’s longevity believing word of mouth given positive reviews on RottenTomatoes and a B+ CinemaScore could drive people to the theaters in subsequent weeks.
The-Numbers even indicated this poor opening weekend “isn’t disastrous.” They point to the film’s lower budget, which they estimate is $75 million. However, Box Office Pro estimates it is much higher believing it could be somewhere between $85 million and $100 million.
Why do you think Birds of Prey struggled in its opening weekend? Do you think it might have longevity? Or do you think it will slowly die off?