When news broke yesterday that Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) was getting a name change in the wake of the DC Comics’ way-below-expectation box office debut in an effort to turn around its commercial fortunes, many responded with the opinion that this was too little too late. Warner Bros messed up with the actually great film’s marketing and should just own it instead of trying desperate gambles like this. Well, it turns out they didn’t try anything at all.
The far more accurate and concise new title of Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey had been spotted on many American cinema chains’ websites/apps, prompting the initial reports. And while overdue, it made sense as it pushed Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn right to the forefront as this is her movie. But, it turns out, this was not a studio-mandated name change at all, but rather something the cinema chains initiated by themselves just to make the movie easier to search for. That’s according to Alisha Grauso, Editorial Lead for Atom Tickets, one of the biggest movie ticket sellers in the US.
In a few follow-up tweets responding to questions, Grauso went on to state that the initial reporting of this story didn’t do enough investigation but that cinema chains are also at fault for not putting out an official statement with the change. She also explained that the original title (hopefully at least shortened to just “Birds of Prey” or cinema marquee displays will become a nightmare) will still be displayed everywhere else.
So yeah, if Birds of Prey (or whatever you want to call it) is going to pull itself up and avoid becoming a box office bomb over the next few weeks, it will have to do so without the help of a new name. With very strong word of mouth from those who have actually seen it, that may still happen. Or it will end up being yet another critically-and fan-acclaimed film that will only truly get some traction when it hits home release by which time everybody will be telling their friends to watch it, but it would be too late.
Last Updated: February 12, 2020