Is Birds of Prey actually a box-office flop? We look at the numbers

Jack Shepherd
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Birds of Prey has been in cinemas for one week, yet the narrative surrounding the movie seems to be set in stone – it’s a box-office disappointment. At least, that’s according to a broad number of analysts who have gone over the numbers. 

Indeed, even Warner Bros. has seemingly admitted as much, changing the movie’s name online to optimise search engine results – it’s now Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey, and not Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). But what’s the truth? Has Margot Robbie’s latest anti-villain team-up really been a flop, despite seemingly grossing back it’s budget in just one week? Let’s have a closer look at the numbers.

Birds of Prey – which we’ll be calling the movie in this piece – took $33.2 million over its opening weekend in the United States. That’s unfortunately the worst opening weekend for a DC Extended Universe movie yet, lower than Shazam’s $53.5 million and much below Suicide Squad’s $133.6 million. Worldwide, Birds of Prey soared slightly higher, to just over $80 million.

When you consider that Birds of Prey also came with the lowest budget of any DC movie yet – an estimated $82 million, though Variety notes that other studios believe it sits at around $100 million. With that in mind, it makes sense that Birds of Prey would come out slightly below the other movies in the series. 

Harley Quinn in Birds of Prey

Of course, despite the colourful superhero flick having almost made $100 million worldwide as of writing, that still doesn’t cover the amount Warner Bros. has spent on Birds of Prey. Including marketing, that number jumps up, and Variety claims that the break-even mark for the Margot Robbie vehicle is between $250 million and $300 million. So there’s still some way to go.

Now, let’s look at Birds of Prey’s second weekend estimates. With the Sonic movie racing into cinemas, Birds looks set to drop to second place at the box-office, with an estimated weekend of $16 million – down 50% on its opening. That’s a bigger dip than Aquaman (29%) and Wonder Woman (45%), but nothing compared to Batman v Superman (69%) and Suicide Squad (67%).

What does this all mean? Well, despite its positive reviews and a CinemaScore of B+, Birds of Prey has not seemingly held the world’s attention like Wonder Woman, Aquaman, or even Shazam. Perhaps the quasi-Suicide Squad sequel will surprise everyone and have a killer second weekend, and word of mouth could spread, but it’s looking likely Warner Bros. are going to stay disappointed by the results of Harley’s romp. 

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