Going into this weekend, it was expected that Warner Bros’ latest DCEU movie, Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), would finally dethrone Bad Boys for Life after the latter ruled the US box office for three weeks. That is exactly what happened, but it definitely didn’t go according to plan.
Both WB themselves and industry analysts were predicting that the Margot Robbie-led comic book team-up movie would debut in the US northwards of $45 million. Some even went as far as $55 million. However, after a reasonably solid start on Friday, Birds of Prey’s numbers suddenly plummeted steeply. When the dust settled, the film was still top of the US charts for this weekend past, but with only a much softer $33.2 million. That’s the smallest domestic opening yet for any DCEU release. This despite the fact that both critics and audience members are loving the film (Critics and Audience Score on RottenTomatoes at 81% and 83% respectively).
Internationally, things didn’t get that much better as Birds of Prey earned an additional $48 million from 78 markets. That gives it a global total of $81.3 million which doesn’t even break even with the film’s $85 million production price tag. Factor in advertising costs and WB will have to hope that great buzz coming from those people who actually watched the film this weekend past will give it some legs in the coming weeks. Luckily there isn’t much in the way of major competition (unless Sonic the Hedgehog surprises) for the rest of the month.
So what went wrong? Personally, I think that following the combo of underwhelming trailers and lacklustre promotions (they barely even featured the actual Birds of Prey!), the very positive hype from press who had seen it came too late. Embargos lifted just three days before release and WB needed to get the word out way earlier. It also didn’t help that the film was R-rated, meaning that a huge chunk of the fanbase for Robbie’s Harley Quinn couldn’t actually go see this movie as they’re too young. Either way, one of the DCEU’s best-reviewed entries, is now also one of its lowest-performing.
As for the rest of the chart, Bad Boys for Life dropped to second place with $12 million, dropping just 32%. More than likely inspired by its Oscar Best Picture nominations, 1917 had an incredible holdover as it dropped just 5% to add another $9 million as it rounded out the top three. It also has to be noted that Rian Johnson’s Knives Out, another Oscar nominee, had finally dropped out of the top ten last weekend after weeks of only minor drops… and it bounced right back again this weekend past as it only lost 9% to earn an extra $2.3 million. That leaves it on the cusp of $300 million globally.
Let’s see what the rest of the US box office chart looks like:
|No.||Movie Name||Weekend gross||Percentage change||US Domestic gross||Worldwide gross||Last Week's Position|
|1||Birds of Prey||$33.2 million||NE||$33.2 million||$81.2 million||NE|
|2||Bad Boys for Life||$12 million||-32%||$166.3 million||$336.3 million||1st|
|3||1917||$9 million||-5%||$132.5 million||$287.3 million||2nd|
|4||Dolittle||$6.6 million||-12%||$63.9 million||$158.6 million||3rd|
|5||Jumanji: The Next Level||$5.5 million||-8%||$298.4 million||$768.4 million||5th|
|6||The Gentlemen||$4.1 million||-25%||$26.8 million||$60.3 million||6th|
|7||Gretel & Hansel||$3.5 million||-43%||$26.8 million||$13.1 million||4th|
|8||Knives Out||$2.3 million||-9%||$158.9 million||$299.6 million||11th|
|9||Little Women||$2.3 million||-24%||$102.6 million||$177.1 million||8th|
|10||Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker||$2.2 million||-30%||$510.5 million||$1.061 billion||7th|
NE = New Entry
Last Updated: February 10, 2020
February 10, 2020 at 12:37
I finally watched Bad Boys for life, it was really great, made my sides hurt from laughing so much. I hope Birds of Prey picks up because DC has been recovering well and WB knee jerk reactions to box office results are bad for everyone
February 10, 2020 at 12:37
Knives Out deserves to go back to #1.
February 10, 2020 at 13:11
Movie was good, enjoyed how they tell the story, and funny enough Ewan Mcgregor actually pulled off a decent bad guy.
Son of Banana Jim
February 10, 2020 at 20:14
It’s tanking heavily (and it seems it’ll be one of the biggest box office losses for Warner), but I was expecting it when they went for the patented Captain Marvel “Gurls are the best evaaaa!/Gurl POWAH” marketing approach – instead of just trusting that one of DCs favourite comic book characters could carry a movie, purely on its merit. The second you go with “Gurl Powah”, the comic book fanbase is out (especially given what’s been happening on their side during the culture war), and you’re also losing most of your male viewers as well. As for the female audience, the vast majority was never going to go watch a comic book movie to start with (yes, female geeks exist, but what percentage are they really? less than 10%…? I’d wager they’re not even 5%). It’s amazing that Hollywood can be so myopic.
The other issue is also, none of the characters (except for Harley Quinn) is recognisable. I still don’t know which one is supposed to be Black Canary or which one is the Huntress (one of my favourite female DC characters of all time – I used to collect her comics). They all look like they’re off to an “anti-Trump / Antifa-for-ladies” march.
Would it have killed them to at least put them in their costumes? I mean the freaking movie is so over-the-top, why couldn’t they even do that? It’s almost like DC struck it lucky with the Joker, and failed to realise why that movie resonated with viewers, and then they follow it up with this one that’s just so culturally inept and oblivious of the zeitgeist or the change in the air.