‘Birds of Prey’ Had the DCEU’s Worst Opening Weekend, But What Went Wrong?

by Jeremy Spirogis
Director Cathy Yan, screenwriter Christina Hodson, and the

Birds of Prey wasn’t precisely the field workplace predator many hoped it will be.

When followers found the long-term technique for the DC Extended Universe, many questioned how that will work. Rather than constructing a shared universe piece by piece, the DCEU leaped proper in with its second movie, 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Hits like Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman adopted, however general, the street to Justice League and past was bumpier than anybody hoped. More just lately, Warner Bros. has been sprinkling standalone releases comparable to Joker in with the DCEU. Along the way in which, DC Films has been cherry-picking components that work and prepping others — e.g., Batman and Superman — for character reboots.

The DCEU is perhaps evaluating which of its heroes want course-correction. But no less than they don’t have to fret about Harley Quinn. Or do they?

Director Cathy Yan, screenwriter Christina Hodson, and the 'Birds of Prey' cast at the world premiere
Director Cathy Yan, screenwriter Christina Hodson, and the ‘Birds of Prey’ forged on the world premiere | David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage

‘Suicide Squad’ will get a Harley Quinn spin-off (type of)

Of all of the DCEU films up to now, Suicide Squad is second solely to Justice League for its infamous behind-the-scenes drama. Justice League followers are nonetheless obsessive about the Zack Snyder minimize that may have been. But director David Ayer equally misplaced artistic management of Suicide Squad.

The ensuing movie earned $747 million on the worldwide field workplace. Even so, audiences weren’t precisely clamoring for extra, particularly of Jared Leto’s Joker. James Gunn’s 2021 launch The Suicide Squad will primarily reboot its predecessor, bringing on a choose few returning forged members.

The one side of Suicide Squad virtually everybody agreed on was Margot Robbie’s knockout efficiency as Harley Quinn. The character’s unhealthy romance with Joker however, Robbie introduced a gleeful unpredictability to the function. And in an occasion, the fan favourite’s reputation reached one other degree.

Even earlier than Suicide Squad‘s launch, Robbie and Warner Bros. started exploring the place to take Harley subsequent. Rather than main a straight-up Harley Quinn spin-off, the actress insisted on the ensemble method. A Harley-led Birds of Prey film then entered growth, with Robbie producing.

‘Birds of Prey’ doesn’t fairly soar on the field workplace

Coming off of Suicide Squad, expectations have been pretty excessive for Birds of Prey. Alas, regardless of hopes it will hit round $50 million, the movie earned $33 million domestically in its first weekend. The business was fast to react, with sure male “fans” celebrating the film’s perceived failure. But coming off of successes like Aquaman, Shazam!, and Joker, why did this DC Comics adaptation fail to stay as much as the hype commercially?

After all, Robbie had obtained widespread help for her efficiency in Suicide Squad. Then once more, that film was additionally anchored by well-known stars comparable to Will Smith, Viola Davis, and Leto. Moreover, it boasted a advertising marketing campaign so slick the corporate who assembled the trailer was introduced on to edit the complete movie. That compelling pre-release footage simply wasn’t an element for Birds of Prey.

To non-comics followers, the title doesn’t carry numerous weight both. So most moviegoers can have no clue who the Birds of Prey are till the movie’s finish. The studio tried to promote audiences a Birds of Prey movie that includes Harley Quinn when, in reality, Birds of Prey is Harley’s present from prime to backside. Some theater chains up to date the movie’s title on-line to higher mirror this. But even Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey received’t make a lot distinction at this level.

Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn will possible nonetheless return

Ultimately, the underperformance of Birds of Prey was attributable to quite a lot of elements. Perhaps Robbie’s star and Harley’s reputation aren’t sufficient to beat the potential drawbacks of an R ranking. In a post-Logan, post-Deadpool, post-Joker world, the ranking is now not solely one thing we are able to blame. Besides, DC Films seems to be banking on future R-rated success.

Maybe even releasing the movie whereas the equally action-heavy sequel Bad Boys for Life was nonetheless doing so effectively was a little bit of a miscalculation. Regardless, Birds of Prey isn’t almost the catastrophe some experiences are making it sound like. Director Cathy Yan’s movie did earn $81 million worldwide its first week in opposition to an $85 million manufacturing funds. Of course, it nonetheless has to beat advertising prices. But Birds of Prey will undoubtedly flip a revenue.

It’s additionally not the final time audiences will see Robbie’s Harley Quinn, because the Oscar-nominated actress is already returning in The Suicide Squad. With any luck, her look there’ll make clear her future within the DCEU. As pitch-perfect as she is within the function, it will be a disgrace for Warner Bros. to downplay the character going ahead simply because Birds of Prey was merely a modest hit.

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