'Birds of Prey' fails to take flight at the box office

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn (Credit: Warner Bros)
Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn (Credit: Warner Bros)

While everyone's looking at the Oscars, it could be a good time to bury the news that Birds of Prey's box office debut was pretty lacklustre.

The DC spin-off from Suicide Squad - full title Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) - premiered on Thursday last week in the States, but despite an extra weekend day on release, pulled in just over $33 million (£25.5 million) in the US.

Read more: The twisted history of Harley Quinn

That makes it the lowest launch for the DC Extended Universe, falling short of previous title-winner Shazam, which debuted to $53 million.

According to reports, that's nearly half of what Warner Bros was hoping for.

And while it picked up a little pace abroad, opening in 78 markets and making $81.3 million (£63 million) in all, it's still significantly south of expectations for the studio.

Birds of Prey (Credit: Warner Bros)
Birds of Prey (Credit: Warner Bros)

Sources tell Variety that the movie will have to make in excess of $100 million before it breaks even, and while that's certainly in its sights, it doesn't look like Birds of Prey will be the blockbuster it was hoped.

The studio has noted that the outbreak of coronavirus in Asia has heavily impacted on movie-going figures.

Several movies, including Dolittle and 1917, have had their releases in China axed for the time being due to the closure of cinemas while the outbreak is contained.

Read more: Margot Robbie was confused by Suicide Squad romance

Directed by Cathy Yan, the movie picks up Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn character from Suicide Squad, now free of her toxic relationship with Jared Leto's Joker, and embarking on a new phase of anti-heroineism.

With cohorts Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and Gotham City detective Renee Montoya, played by Rosie Perez, she takes on Ewan McGregor's Black Mask.

But it seems that decent reviews have failed to convert into box office gold, making Birds of Prey potentially another financial misstep in the DCEU’s chequered CV.