Birds of Prety and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn failed to gain altitude in its box office debut over the weekend, earning a tepid $33.3 million from 4,236 theaters to mark one of the lowest domestic launches in modern times for a studio superhero pic despite strong reviews.
The female-led film also struggled overseas, where it bowed to $48 million from 78 markets for a global start of $81.3 million. The coronavirus is starting to impact moviegoing in Asian markets outside of China, including South Korea, where Birds of Prey grossed a muted $1.9 million.
The pic was never meant to score a mega-opening since it is a spinoff and sports an R rating. Still, the Warner Bros. and DC title had been tracking to start off with at least $50 million to $55 million in North America and $60 million or more offshore.
Birds of Prey — the weekend’s only new wide release — could at least take solace in coming in No. 1.
Cathy Yan directed the Suicide Squad spinoff, which sees Margot Robbie reprise herrole as Harley Quinn.
Birds of Prey earned strong reviews, while receiving a B+ CinemaScore. One dampener could be the film’s R-rating, which automatically makes it difficult for teenagers to partake. On Friday, 73 percent of ticket buyers were 25 and under, according to PostTrak.
The film faced challenges before getting to the big screen. Reshoots were ordered after the studio saw a first cut, with John Wick director Chad Stahelski enlisted to work alongside Yan and infuse Birds with more action.
The opening is another blow for Warner Bros., which has suffered a string of misses and underperformers in recent months. The big exception is Joker, which was up for a leading 11 nominations heading into Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony, with Joaquin Phoenix considered a shoo-in for best actor. (Robbie herself was nominated for best supporting actress for Bombshell.)
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: Warner Bros.
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