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SYFY WIRE Box Office

Box Office: Birds of Prey has wings clipped with disappointing $33 million debut

By Josh Weiss
Birds of Prey

Despite positive early reactions and reviews, director Cathy Yan's Birds of Prey movie failed to hit expected box office projections during its wide theatrical opening this weekend.

Instead of achieving the estimated debut of $52 - $55 million, the latest entry in Warner Bros.' DCEU is disappointing with just $33.25 million from 4,236 North American venues. As a result, the film currently holds the worst weekend debut of any DC Extended Universe project in history. Ironically, it has the third-highest franchise ranking on Rotten Tomates (a very fresh 80 percent) after Wonder Woman and Shazam!.

That's a real shame since the Deadpool-esque Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn is (much like Aquaman and Shazam!) a very promising sign of the studio's improved comic book adaptation formula. Even so, BoP was easily able to peck at the top spot at this weekend's box office, knocking Sony's Bad Boys for Life into second place.

According to Variety, the comic book release—which cost around $80 million to produce—"could rebound over coming weeks since there’s not much direct competition."

In foreign markets, the film has pulled in $48 million, but the coronavirus pandemic in parts of Southeast Asia are reportedly keeping that number from being larger than it is.

Written by Christina Hodson (Bumblebee), Birds of Prey serves as a sequel to 2016's poorly-received Suicide Squad. The story kicks off when the Joker dumps his longtime girlfriend/partner-in-crime Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie returns to the iconic role). When all the thugs of Gotham City realize that Quinn is no longer under the protection of the Clown Prince of Crime, she becomes Public Enemy No. 1.

Somewhat desperate, Harley agrees to retrieve a valuable diamond for sadistic crime boss, Roman Sionis/Black Mask (Ewan McGregor), who promises her sanctuary from all the people looking to kill her. Along the way, Harley begins to realize that she doesn't need a man to protect her and teams up with Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) to defeat Sionis. Together, they set out to protect Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), an orphaned pickpocket who has come into possession of the diamond.

"I think, ultimately, it's fun to watch a group of women come together and kick ass. No matter what, if you're a guy or a girl, you get a bit pumped up when you're like, "Oh sh*t, the Birds are together," Robbie told SYFY Fangrrls.

Birds of Prey

Genre holdovers from previous weeks are Universal's Dolittle and Sony's Jumanji: The Next Level. Respectively, the two pictures took in an additional $6.6 million and $5 million in domestic sales this weekend.

To date, Dolittle has racked up $63 million in North America and $132.8 million worldwide. Jumanji: The Next Level is up to $298 million domestically and $758.6 million globally.

Elsewhere, NEON's The Lodge still opened to $78,104 from six screens in New York and Los Angeles. Helmed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala (the directorial duo behind Goodnight Mommy), the claustraphobic and psychological horror flick (currently holding a fresh 75 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) unfolds at an icy cabin in the middle of nowhere. 

Jaeden Martell, Lia McHugh, Riley Keough, Richard Armitage, and Alicia Silverstone make up the small, albeit talented, principal cast.

(SYFY and SYFY WIRE are both owned by NBCUniversal, which released Dolittle.)

(via Variety, DeadlineBox Office Mojo)