‘Birds of Prey’ Lays an Egg at the Box Office

Margot Robbie’s superheroine spinoff “Birds of Prey” is landing with a somewhat disappointing $34 million opening weekend at 4,236 North American sites, estimates showed Saturday.

The figure deflates hopes that “Birds of Prey” will become a hit. It’s significantly below Warner Bros.’ pre-release forecast of $45 million while rivals had “Birds of Prey” pegged for a $55 million launch. Friday’s take totaled $13 million (including $4 million in Thursday previews) with opening day audiences giving the film a B+ Cinemascore, with audiences under 25 awarding it an A-.

“Birds of Prey,” which carries a reported $80 million price tag, centers on Robbie’s vigilante Harley Quinn teaming up with superheroes Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) to save Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) from the crime lord Black Mask (Ewan McGregor). Reviews were generally favorable and led to an 82% “fresh” Rotten Tomatoes score.

“Birds of Prey,” the eighth entry in the DC Extended Universe, had arrived as a buzzy title. Robbie earned an Oscar nomination a month ago for “Bombshell” and carried residual goodwill for her freewheeling performance in “Suicide Squad” as a deranged criminal and partner to Jared Leto’s Joker character. “Suicide Squad” opened with $133 million and grossed an impressive $746 million worldwide despite downbeat reviews.

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Early international results for “Birds of Prey” have also been short of sensational, with $10.3 million on Friday from 78 markets, bringing the international total to $18.1 million. “Birds of Prey” is directed by Cathy Yan from a script by Christina Hodson. Robbie, who originated the idea for the movie while working on “Suicide Squad,” is a producer, along with Bryan Unkeless and Sue Kroll.

Rival studios opted to stick with holdover fare on the Oscar weekend rather than challenge “Birds of Prey.” Sony’s fourth weekend of “Bad Boys for Life” is leading the rest of the pack with with about $12 million at 3,530 sites. The action comedy, re-teaming Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, will finish the frame with more than $166 million in North America.

Universal’s awards season favorite “1917,” an exploration of two British soldiers on a World War I mission, should come in third with an estimated $9 million at3,548 venues to lift its total to $132 million after seven weeks in release in North America. “1917” earned 10 Oscar nominations and won the top awards from the Directors Guild and Producers Guild.

Universal’s fourth weekend of “Dolittle” will finish fourth with around $6.5 million at 3,462, bringing its 24-day take to $64 million. Sony’s ninth weekend of “Jumanji: The Next Level” will follow in fifth with $5.5 million at 2,729 locations, giving the “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” sequel nearly $300 million at the North American box office by the end of the weekend.

STX’s fourth weekend of Matthew McConaughey’s “The Gentlemen” was heading for sixth with $4.5 million at 2,557 sites, lifting its North American total past $27 million. United Artists’ second weekend of its horror fairy tale “Gretel & Hansel” followed with $3.4 million at 3,007 playdates.

Lionsgate’s 11th weekend of “Knives Out” and Sony’s seventh session of “Little Women” were in a close race for eighth place with about $2.45 million each. Lionsgate announced Thursday that it had begun work on a sequel to “Knives Out,” which will finish the weekend with $159 million in North America. “Little Women,” which is up for six Oscars, recently crossed the $100 million domestic milestone.

Disney’s eighth weekend of  “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” will round out the top 10 chart with $2.3 million at 1,746 locations. “Skywalker” will finish the frame above $510 million domestically.


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