Birds of Prey is getting a bit of a name change in the hopes more people might come to see the film if its starring character is put front and center. The DC Comics big-screen adaptation is undergoing the change at every single theater chain across the country. The film’s actual full name is Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) but the new name is both shortened and leads off with the star of the show. ComicBook reports the new title is, Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.
Since its release last weekend, the film was met with mostly critical acclaim, but the opening box office numbers were shockingly poor for a film with this budget and marketing campaign. The flick, starring Margot Robbie as the titular character, took in just over $33 million in its first three days while the total production for the movie cost around $80 million.
While some have pointed to the fact Harley Quinn is an R-rated film as the reason audiences haven’t flocked to showings, that hasn’t been a box office killer in the past. Deadpool and Joker are the most recent examples of R-rated comic book movies that hauled in tens of millions of dollars in their opening weekend. Birds of Prey wasn’t expected to hit those kinds of heights, but it was projected to make as much as $55 million.
DC Comics’ latest big-screen venture has been met with very good reviews, leading the studio to believe it’s not the quality of the product that has hurt revenues. Rotten Tomatoes has Harley Quinn rated as 80 percent fresh and it’s getting an even better 81 percent audience score. Cinema Score has given it a B+ so far.
Not every critic has enjoyed Harley Quinn though. Metacritic is currently registering just a 60 percent rating and the audience score comes in at an even lower 5.9 rating. However, the studio is convinced a last-minute name change is going to help audiences find the all-female superhero flick. The change has been carried out extremely quickly. AMC and other movie theatres have already dropped the extra wording from the title and are showing the new name just hours after the studio announced the shift.
It’s possible Valentine’s weekend could also see a bit of a surge in attendees. So could an extra week of cinema lovers realizing the film is in theaters at all. Even with the disappointing opening, Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey will almost certainly not see a loss on the bottom line but in order to spawn a sequel, it will likely need to pick up the money-making pace.