Birds of Prey’ can’t fly high with just a $33m opening: Box Office Report

It just wasn’t to be for ‘Birds of Prey’, as the Margot Robbie-fronted superhero film had its wings clipped with just a $33m opening across the Academy Awards weekend. Meanwhile, ‘Bad Boys for Life’ continue to flourish as it continues its pursuit of a $200m domestic finish.

How did the new releases get on?


On the weekend where Hollywood’s best films had the chance of winning the biggest awards, ‘Birds of Prey’ lost out in the Box Office running, posting just $33m since Friday, from a massive 4,236 cinema screens.

It marks the lowest opening ever for a DCEU film, $20m off of last April’s ‘Shazam!’, and half that of 2018’s ‘Aquaman’. The R-rated superhero spinoff also comes almost 4 years after the PG-13 ‘Suicide Squad’ opened to an incredible $133.7m, on its way to earning almost $750m worldwide.

This 75% drop is a remarkable one, especially considering ‘Birds of Prey’s strong 80% on the Tomatometer, B+ on Cinemascore, lack of blockbuster competition, and general goodwill. Star Margot Robbie was even in contention for a Best Supporting Actress win last night, with the ceremony doing little to put the film in a brighter spotlight.

Only 3 days in and Warner Bros have been left scratching their heads over how the film’s finances can possibly be salvaged, as ‘Birds of Prey’ looks likely to miss the $100m domestic target.

And yes, salvaged is the correct word. While swarms of fans on Twitter understandably vent frustration at headlines calling the global opening of $81m a flop (it made it’s budget back! This is an outrage!), you must remember that a) studios earn 50% of domestic Box Office receipts, b) this drops to 25-40% of international grosses, and c) we haven’t even seen the marketing costs, or the printing costs, or the…

To successfully review this all, Warner Bros have to ask themselves why the film, which only cost $84m (the smallest of the franchise), struggled to breakout amongst a general audience who granted an R-rated ‘Joker’ over $1bn.

Well, that pesky R-rating is seemingly the hindrance. Questions will be asked as to why the producers didn’t stick with the PG-13 rating that opened up ‘Suicide Squad’ (and the DCEU, and MCU, and literallyall other successful comic book films bar 5) to a wider audience, but squeezed the viewership to adult-only.

And why do this for a spinoff of ‘Suicide Squad’? The film that, although made a quarter-of-a-billion dollars, was also critically reviled? Surely you’d want the most you could get? And why wasn’t this released in the summer – or at least during the ‘Shazam!’ window of early April?

These questions were apparently asked abroad too, as internationally ‘Birds of Prey’ fared little better, earning $46.5m from 78 countries. Its global start of just $79.5m is half that of ‘Batman v Superman’s domestic opening, and leaves the film perilously close to the flop zone

How did the others do?

It was a better weekend for most, especially for ‘Bad Boys For Life’ who, for the 1st time in its release, didn’t hit top spot, but still earned a respectable $12mfor a $166m domestic total. We’d be lying if we said this had a chance of reaching the $200m mark stateside upon release, beating out the likes of ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ amongst others, but we’re in the business of celebrating achievement at the end of the day, and Sony & co. have hit it big.

This weekend was also a success for the Oscar nominees and winners, with ‘1917’ crossing $133m domestically (and close to $300m globally), ‘Knives Out’ dropping just 11% to return to the top 10, ‘Little Women’ finally crossing the century mark, and Best Picture winner ‘Parasite’ adding another $1.5mto gross $35m stateside.

Other notables from the weekend

  • Birds of Prey’s $33m opening marks the lowest for a DC live-action film since ‘Red’ ($21.8m) in 2010.
  • The opening also marks the 6th film in a row for the DCEU that the opening has fallen from its preceding film.
  • Uncut Gems’ is now officially A24’s largest domestic grosser with $49.2m, crawling past ‘Lady Bird’s $49m.
RankLast Week RankFilmSTUDIOTotal U.S. GrossWeekend Gross Weekend dropWeek number
1New!Birds of PreyWarner Bros$33m$33m1
21Bad Boys For LifeSony$166.3m$12.0m-32.0%4
55Jumanji: The Next LevelSony$298.5m$5.6m-7.3%9
66The GentlemenSTX Entertainment$26.9m$4.2m-24.8%3
74Gretel & HanselUAR$11.6m$3.6m-43.0%2
88Little WomenSony$102.7m$2.4m-22.7%7
911Knives OutLionsgate$158.8m$2.3m-10.9%11
107Star Wars: The Rise of SkywalkerDisney$510.6m$2.3m-27.9%8