Birds of Prey: Decent Reviews but Commercial Flop

Birds of Prey (“and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn”) disappointed at the box office, earning just $33.25 million when it debuted in 4,236 U.S. theaters.

Worst Opening for DC Extended Universe

The sequel to 2016’s “Suicide Squad,” with Margot Robbie reprising her role as Harley Quinn, now holds the ignominious distinction as the worst opening for any film in the DC Extended Universe.

Prior to “Birds of Prey,” the PG-13 “Shazam” had the lowest launch with $53 million.

Reviews for “Birds of Prey” were much stronger than its predecessor. However, “Suicide Squad” — which debuted with $133 million — was rated PG-13 and boasted higher profile comic-book characters, like the Joker.

“Birds of Prey” wasn’t expected to reach those figures because it’s rated R and stars lesser-known antiheroes, but it was expected to make around $50 million heading into the weekend. Since it was the only new movie to open this weekend, it still easily dominated domestic box office charts.

“Birds of Prey,” which cost $80 million before accounting for global marketing and distribution fees, could rebound over the coming weeks, since there’s not much direct competition.  It needs to make around $100 million at the domestic box office to break even.

The film generated only $48 million from 78 international markets. The studio said in parts of Southeast Asia, fears of coronavirus are impacting moviegoing.

Globally, “Birds of Prey” made $81 million this weekend.

Directed by Cathy Yan and written by Christina Hodson, “Birds of Prey” picks up after the events of “Suicide Squad” and sees Harley Quinn coping with her breakup from the Joker (played in this universe by Jared Leto). In this go-around, she teams up with a girl gang — Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and Gotham detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) — to save a young girl from Gotham crime lord Black Mask (Ewan McGregor).

The critical consensus for “Birds of Prey” was strong, with an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. Moviegoers gave it a “B+” CinemaScore.

“Birds of Prey” joins other recent flops from Warner Bros. Outside of “Joker,” the studio is desperate for a hit after suffering a string of flops, including “Doctor Sleep,” “The Goldfinch” and “Richard Jewell.”

Its DC Extended Universe, however, had been on a critical and commercial high, with the successes of “Wonder Woman” and “Aquaman.”