Unfortunately, Birds of Prey’s Opening Hasn’t Gone So Hot

Harley and Cass.
Harley and Cass.
Image: Warner Bros.

While critics, including ours, have dug the frenetic, girl-power action of Birds of Prey, critical acclaim doesn’t always mean much in the hard reality of ticket sales. And for a superhero film opening in February, things don’t always go as planned.


As reported by Deadline, Birds of Prey’s opening weekend was… not great. Breaking a streak of relatively healthy successes, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn romp opened at #1 at the box office but only managed to gross $33.2 million in the United States, with a total of $81.2 million globally. That’s well below Warner Bros’s desired opening of $44 million domestically.

There’s a whole myriad of factors that could go into a movie like this performing below expectations—the fact that a lot of people disliked Suicide Squad, the early February release, the fact that it’s a new franchise, etc. Lots of things can go wrong with marketing and releasing a film. What probably isn’t to blame is the fact that this is a smart, women-led film. But I have a feeling that’s what’s going to be litigated the most when a lot of folks review these numbers.

Birds of Prey is still in theaters for a while yet, and you should check it out if you’re so inclined. 

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io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.


Angrier Geek

I’m disappointed as it was every bit as entertaining as I hoped it would be and then some (and I’m one who openly disparaged this when it was announced). I think the box office disappointment comes down to two factors:

1) R-Rating. They want her character to be their Deadpool and she’s not so the “R” rating hurt it. Deadpool without an “R” wouldn’t have been true to the character but Harley originated and found fame on a Saturday morning cartoon. It’s not intrinsic to her character, especially if she’s not a villain. This cost it kids who could go alone like they could for Suicide Squad. You could easily release a “Director’s Cut” down the line.

2) Batman. I understand why, but it’s kinda myopic to use Batman-based characters running around Gotham and he never shows up. Not even as a one-off joke. Doubly for The Joker. Even Suicide Squad made sure in its trailers you knew Batman was going to show up. That’s your biggest money-maker and in place where he actually belonged (as opposed to Suicide Squad) he’s riding the bench!?! Same for The Joker. Spoken of NONSTOP but not a single green hair on his head appears. Again, I get they wanted to stand on their own, but you need to be realistic and make the smart, small concession (and you know damn well Leto would have done it).

But it sure as shit was not because they weren’t half-naked. Fuck those losers and props to Margot Robbie who said when they made Suicide Squad she wasn’t going to wear that costume again and she meant it.