Birds of Prey, the big-screen adaptation of the adventures of one of the most beloved DC Comics characters, is struggling in its launch weekend. The film, starring Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, had been getting a decent amount of buzz before its opening weekend and has largely gotten positive reviews from fans and critics alike.
Variety reports the film is coming as much as $20 million under opening weekend projections. The project was expected to make around $45 million by Warners Bros. and some of the studio’s rivals thought it might make as much as $55 million. A less than impressive Thursday/Friday opening night and then a mediocre Saturday has industry experts expecting the all-female superhero flick to earn around $34 million.
Audiences who did go to Birds of Prey have mostly liked it. Cinema Score has the film rated as a B+ and has earned a rating of 84 among audiences on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics have been overwhelmingly positive about the movie as well so far with an 80 score on Rotten Tomatoes.
There does seem to be a bit of a split among some moviegoers and critics as Metacritic has the flick rated with just a 60 and individual users have given it just a 5.9 so far.
Industry experts have looked at Birds of Prey as a test case for the second phase of DC Comics. A kind of unofficial sequel to Suicide Squad, the company has actually been trying to move away from that critical bomb.
This time around, Harley Quinn has moved on from her longtime unhealthy obsession with the Joker and is looking for a little bit of girl power. Like it’s predecessor, the film portrays the main characters as more anti-hero than traditional superheroes.
There had been some talk that Margot Robbie’s character could be set to star in a number of standalone films, or even work her way into the more mainstream movies with Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Should the box office struggles continue, it’s hard to know what DC’s plans might be for future films.
Birds of Prey has a price tag of $80 million. Even with the weak opening weekend, the movie stands to at least break even, though that’s obviously not what the studio was aiming for when it was in production.
Monetary insult was added to injury when considering the film released on a weekend when it was the biggest blockbuster of the weekend. That means it wasn’t a matter of competition pulling viewers away from the film. Warner Bros. will now have to wait and see if the superhero film can bounce back in week two.