There’s never one reason why a movie fails at the box office, but several, and titling the Harley Quinn Warner Bros. Suicide Squad spinoff Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn wasn’t really the wisest movie marketing decision of late. Birds of Prey opened to $33M at the domestic box office this past weekend, -37% below its $50M-$55M tracking and -75% below the $133.6M opening of Suicide Squad. The pic repped the lowest opening for a DC movie in a decade, since 2010’s Jonah Hex ($5.3M).
As of today, most major theater circuits such as Regal, AMC, Cinemark and Marcus are using Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey in their listings online, ticketing apps and on marquees.
So what gives?
No, Birds of Prey is not changing its title with its marketing materials intact. Rather, a display change was suggested to exhibitors by Warner Bros. distribution to help with SEO optimizations, searches and ticket reader boards. While exhibs had been using Birds of Prey on their websites and around the theater, leaving Harley Quinn out, exactly why has been confusing I’m told. Some circuits such as Alamo and Showcase Cinemas haven’t made the change on their websites just yet. If you do a search for “Harley Quinn” in Fandango’s site, it leads you to Birds of Prey.
This coming weekend, Birds of Prey looks to get a cushion from Valentine’s Day on Friday with its second weekend over four days expected to be around $23M-$25M, -25% to -30% from the pic’s three-day. Through Monday, the Warner Bros. DC feature stands at $35.1M.