'Birds of Prey' Misfires With $33.7 Million Debut, DC's Worst Opening in a Decade

Harley Quinn film had been expected to at least match the $53.5 million opening of “Shazam!”

The box office got an unpleasant surprise this weekend as Warner Bros./DC’s “Birds of Prey” has fallen well short of expectations and posted a $33.2 million opening weekend from 4,239 screens, the worst start for a DC comics adaptation since “Jonah Hex” in 2010.

Heading into the weekend, the new film starring Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn was expected by trackers to at least match the $53.5 million opening weekend of “Shazam!” a pre-summer release with a similar production budget of slightly under $100 million. Warner Bros. was projecting a more conservative $45 million start. Reception for the film suggested that “Birds of Prey” should have easily made that target, holding an 83% Rotten Tomatoes score with a B+ on CinemaScore and 4/5 on Postrak.

But instead, the film that was supposed to get February off to a strong start is failing to launch, and it will now need strong legs over the next few weeks to make any sort of sizable profit. The breakdown of the CinemaScore demographics might provide a clue: the highest scores came from audiences under the age of 25, who gave the film a higher grade than the overall average at A-. But the film’s R rating has prevented those younger audiences from turning out en masse — moviegoers under 18 only accounted for 14% — and unlike other R-Rated hits from WB like “Joker” and “It,” reception and turnout from older audiences wasn’t strong enough to make up for that loss.

Warner Bros. has a strong 2020 slate to help them rebound from this disappointment; but those films won’t be coming until the summer, starting with “Scoob!” in May and followed by “Wonder Woman 1984” and “In the Heights” in June and Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” in July.

More to come…

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