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Why Did The Harley Quinn Birds Of Prey Movie Bomb At The Box Office?

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Birds of Prey opened in theaters this weekend to lackluster box office results. The movie is projected to bring in only $34 million this weekend, which would give it the distinction of being the lowest opening DC-based movie since the horrible “Jonah Hex” movie back in 2010.

The movie received fairly strong reviews and decent praise from many of the fans who actually went to see it in the theaters. I haven’t seen the movie myself so I can’t speak to whether it’s a good movie or not, but the question still begs to be answered — why aren’t more people going to see it.

Obviously I can’t speak for everyone, just myself and why I haven’t been motivated to go see it. I am sure over the course of the next few weeks, you will hear plenty of theories on why the movie bombed. Some will likely blame the “R” rating, even though that didn’t seem to really hurt movies like Joker and Deadpool. Some will likely try to blame the movie’s poor performance as being some type of feminist agenda hatched by the studio for female power that went astray.

For me, I cite two main reasons. First, I am discovering that my interest in traveling to a movie theater and paying for expensive movie tickets and snack prices seems to decrease with each passing year. Maybe it’s an age thing. My general feeling is I am just as content to wait a few extra months and watch it from the comfort of my home. Like many, I have a nice sound system, a big flatscreen HDTV on the wall, and a nice comfy couch to watch movies on. I really don’t need a movie theater to have that movie experience. I did go see Joker in theaters, but honestly I would have been just as content if I waited and watched it at home. At home, I wouldn’t have had to be patted down by security to make sure I wasn’t sneaking a gun into the theater or be worried about getting shot, which was big concern for Joker, at least according to the mainstream media.

Still that’s really not the biggest reason for me to not go see this one in theaters. For me, it’s more that I have just lost interest in the DC movie universe. Ever since Justice League and its poor performance at the box office, DC and Warner Bros. seem to have lost faith in their own product. In turn, this seems to have caused a total lack of cohesive direction. Yes, I am spoiled by Marvel movies. I want a cohesive DC Universe just like I have a cohesive Marvel Universe. There are many characters Marvel has given movies that I generally don’t have a huge interest in, but I go to see them because I want to see the puzzle piece they bring to the overall picture. That seems to have been lost with DC ever since Justice League, because Warner Bros doesn’t seem to have enough faith in their universe to continue on. So now we end up with these movies that can’t decide what they want to do. Sure, some are better than others. I liked Shazam but it really didn’t do much to further the DCU. They couldn’t even get Henry Cavill to do a proper cameo, so we ended up seeing some guys chest. We don’t even know if Cavill will be Superman again, and seemingly neither does Warner Bros. Don’t even get me started on Batman.

Here is the thing, I enjoyed Margot Robbie’s performance of Harley in the Suicide Squad movie, and I don’t doubt she gave a strong performance in this movie. I have always thought Harley is a strong supporting character, which is what she was created to be. Do I really think she is an interesting enough character to carry a solo movie? No, and since I have no idea what connection this movie has, if any, to the previous Suicide Squad one — which is in the process of being totally revamped by James Gunn with an almost all-new cast, or the Jared Leto Joker and Ben Affleck Batman… or wait is it the Joaquin Phoenix Joker and the younger Robert Pattinson Batman now???? I don’t know, and honestly I don’t think Warner Bros does either. With this lackluster box-office performance, Robbie probably will be ousted by the studio and replaced by someone else next time we see Harley on the screen. At the end of the day, If Warner Bros. can’t stand behind these things, then why should I be bothered to be interested enough to go check it out? I will watch Birds of Prey eventually, but likely from the comfort of my home.

Did you go see the movie? If so let us know your thoughts about it. If not, let us know why in the COMMENT SECTION below.

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I believe the reason is Birds if Preys lack of marketing. I’ve barely seen an advertisement for the movie on TV, and even some of my friends forgot the movie was coming out. And also being named after a not so well known comic team. If the movie was just called Harley Quinn and WB payed more for marketing I believe it would probably be sitting at a good 200+ million right now.

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I feel the same way about the DCU being all over the place when it comes to making their movies. They have great characters to work with but you have to present it the right way. Put some thought and heart into it like Marvel is trying to do. I have not gone to see the movie either and yes, I think it is an age thing. At least for me, I wont spend the time, money and energy for something that looks lackluster. That outfit Harley is wearing for one. Take that thing back to Party city and go with something even remotely close to classic as possible. From the looks of posters and previews this whole project was a crap shoot in my opinion. No disrespect to the actors, they are doing their best with what they have to work with. This thing fell off because of the bean counters. I can wait until this comes on regular cable or tv to see it. And if I miss it, oh well. Hope somebody out there appreciates the movie for whatever reason, but its not something I was interested in seeing anyway. And in my older age now I rarely go out to movies unless its MCU or DCU and something I want to see. Guess im weird like that.

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I feel like its an age thing as well. I use to go watch every movie at launch, but waiting three months is no big deal for me now for home release.

DC just shot themselves in the foot with the whole justice league thing and trying to catch up with MCU and now i feel most ppl kinda put DC movies into the “B” category....

i liked wonderwoman, aquaman, and shazam... but still...

i will still go see the new upcoming batman in theaters though cuz well... batman!

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10 minutes ago, Jelly said:

I believe the reason is Birds if Preys lack of marketing. I’ve barely seen an advertisement for the movie on TV, and even some of my friends forgot the movie was coming out. And also being named after a not so well known comic team. If the movie was just called Harley Quinn and WB payed more for marketing I believe it would probably be sitting at a good 200+ million right now.

I agree the marketing was somewhat weak, but again I take that to be a sign of the studio's lack of faith behind this property.

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I think its ties to Suicide Squad may be it's biggest weakness.  I think Wonder Woman 1984 will do well because people liked that movie.  This, for all intents and purposes, is a followup to a terrible film that many people saw and many people hated.  I have no desire to see it because it's a continuation of a part of the DC Universe I generally prefer to ignore. 

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I personally have no interest in this movie. If they'd made a movie where the Birds of Prey actually hunted Harley and Poison Ivy, I'd be far more interested. 

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Well honestly, I don't think it has anything to do with people in general not wanting to go to theaters because of pricing and snacks. Clearly people are seeing movies still despite this.

Why did this movie fail?

1) Nobody was really in their costumes (it didn't look like a superhero movie)

2) didn't follow any real relation to the comics (of which that's a main market for getting fan butts in the seats)

3) mainly a female cast that seems to be pitched only to a female market (be smart and cast a wider appeal; both Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman had men in the supporting cast)

I think DC tried to make this a "Deadpool" and I think it would've worked if it was just a Harley movie and had a smaller cast. Also, I think the studio relied on the popularity of the character for comic fans and played only to newcomer viewers and assumed comic fans would see it regardless of what they put up on screen.

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11 minutes ago, Flounnderr said:

Well honestly, I don't think it has anything to do with people in general not wanting to go to theaters because of pricing and snacks. Clearly people are seeing movies still despite this.

Actually the overall box office is down, people aren't going to movies as much as they once did.

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The wife and I are extremely choosy about what movies we go see in theaters, probably much more than we used to be.  Unless someone else is paying, we don't go to see movies that we aren't already sure we're going to like.  And even then it has to be something that looks epic like 1917 or Endgame.

2 hours ago, JayC said:

Actually the overall box office is down, people aren't going to movies as much as they once did.

 

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5 hours ago, Flounnderr said:

Well honestly, I don't think it has anything to do with people in general not wanting to go to theaters because of pricing and snacks. Clearly people are seeing movies still despite this.

Why did this movie fail?

1) Nobody was really in their costumes (it didn't look like a superhero movie)

2) didn't follow any real relation to the comics (of which that's a main market for getting fan butts in the seats)

3) mainly a female cast that seems to be pitched only to a female market (be smart and cast a wider appeal; both Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman had men in the supporting cast)

I think DC tried to make this a "Deadpool" and I think it would've worked if it was just a Harley movie and had a smaller cast. Also, I think the studio relied on the popularity of the character for comic fans and played only to newcomer viewers and assumed comic fans would see it regardless of what they put up on screen.

Yep I have no interest in seeing it at all because of #1 & #2

Once again I assume Harley is the only one in character!  Black Mask might be too. However the rest of the cast don't seem to be at all.

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    I'm in the camp of rarely going to the movies anymore, not really interested in a lot of stuff out there. As for this movie, never really had any interest in it, I wasn't a fan of Suicide Squad and I don't care for Harley Quinn and Margot Robbie's portrayal of her. The trailers all looked pretty underwhelming and although I'm a fan of Ewan McGregor, I don't think he's enough of a reason to go see this movie. The drawing point here should have been the Birds of Prey but most of the marketing for this movie made it seem like they were back up singers for Harley Quinn, plus they are barely recognizable. When making a movie based on a comic book you have to strike a balance where the movie can appeal to both comic book fans and casual audiences. I feel that the costumes from this movie could have been better, especially when you consider the fact that is one area where WB/DC had great success in their recent movies. Most reviews I have read have been positive but I didn't read anything in those reviews that made change my mind about it. Perhaps positive word of mouth will turn things around for this movie financially but I doubt it.

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On 2/10/2020 at 6:47 PM, Satam said:

Apparently, WB is renaming the movie "Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey."
https://bloody-disgusting.com/comics/3604284/harley-quinn-birds-prey-warner-bros-quickly-retitles-film-weak-box-office-opening/
Problem solved. Now it'll make BILLIONS!

that only proves  DC doesn't know what they are doing

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I think one of its main problems is it just looks...ugly and uninteresting.

Harley Quinn is dressed like an idiot. WHAT IS THAT OUTFIT EVEN SUPPOSED TO BE? She looks like a Stripper/Plumber from the Mad Max universe. I look at her outfit and I see plumber's overalls.

It's further hurt by a lack of any characters that we care about. Now, granted, fans of the Batman comics (and DC comics in general) will recognize most of these characters, particularly Huntress and Black Canary. The thing is, these characters don't resemble their comic counterparts at all, and they certainly aren't wearing any interesting costumes, much less costumes that even SLIGHTLY resemble their comic outfits.

So to a casual viewer you have this : Harley Quinn and a bunch of boring normal people are fighting against some evil boring normal people. That's what the trailer showed us anyway. No cool looking super powered characters to be found in the trailer or promotional material.

 

The studio thought Harley could carry a movie on her own like Deadpool did, because those two characters are pretty neck and neck in terms of popularity amongst comic fans. The difference is, the Deadpool movies did Deadpool RIGHT. He was portrayed as he is in the comics. In both character AND appearance.

 

Harley? Not so much.

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