Weekend Box Office: ‘Birds Of Prey’ Inexplicably Isn’t Soaring As High As Expected

Birds of Prey debuted in the top spot this weekend at the box office. That’s the good news. The bad news? It debuted with only a $33 million opening. Granted, that is not a disastrous opening for a film with a somewhat modest $97 million budget that also made $48 million overseas, but it’s a real head scratcher, because box-office prognosticators predicted $50 to $55 million while Warner Brothers gave a conservative estimate of $45 million. Birds of Prey fell considerably lower than that.

What exactly went wrong here? Birds of Prey features arguably the most popular character from Suicide Squad (which opened to the tune of $133 million) played by one of the most popular actresses in Hollywood right now, coming off a year in which she was nominated for a Golden Globe in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and an Oscar in Bombshell. It’s based on a comic book character; the critics loved it (80 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), and audiences enjoyed it (B+ on Cinemascore).

Honestly, it doesn’t make a damn lick of sense to me, except that perhaps Oscar weekend is traditionally a slow one; Harley Quinn is not a super well-known character and, even if she was, the movie title refers to an even more obscure composition of her character among other lesser known characters; or maybe it’s simply that it was an R-rated film, and too much of the target audience is under the age of 17? It’s truly hard to say, although the one advantage it still has is a three-day weekend next week. Solid word of mouth suggests that it could capitalize, although it may run into some competition with Sonic the Hedgehog.

Birds of Prey was the only new entry in this week’s top ten, so most of the other interesting action took place with the Oscar nominees ahead of the Oscars. 1917 fell only 6 percent in its fourth week of wide release, as it scrounged up another $8.9 million to bring its total to $132 million. At number eight, Little Women earned $2.3 million to surpass $100 million ($102 million). Rian Johnson’s Knives Out, meanwhile, jumped back into the top ten after a week off and earned $2.45 million to bring its total to $159 million after eleven weeks. Knives Out came on on Thanksgiving weekend of last year, and it’s still sticking around, and it’s now on the cusp of $300 million worldwide ($299.64 million).

Elsewhere, Bad Boys For Life is not going to win any Oscars this year or next, but it is doing very good business. It earned $11.8 million to bring its four-week total to $166 million domestic. Dolittle earned $6.5 million to bring its total to $63 million. In its ninth week, Jumanji: Next Level earned $5.5 million to bring its overall domestic total just short of $300 million.

The Gentlemen is doing just fine stateside, earning another $4.3 million to bring its total to $27 million for a film that STX Films paid only $7 million for the right to distribute. Gretel & Hansel is quickly fading, earning $3.4 million in its second weekend to bring its total to $11 million. Finally, in tenth place, Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker earned $2.27 million to bring its total to $510 million domestic, which is a huge number with which any studio should be happy. It’s still $100 million short of The Last Jedi. In fact, it’s still $12 million short of Rogue One’s domestic haul.

Next weekend in Valentine’s Day weekend/President’s Day weekend, and it will see three new wide releases: Jason Blum’s Fantasy Island; the romance, The Photograph; and the aforementioned Sonic the Hedgehog.

Source: Box Office Mojo, Deadline