erik lundegaard


Sunday February 09, 2020

Box Office for ‘Birds of Prey’ Isn't Fantabulous

Sorry. Still trying to get the hang of the Box Office Mojo redesign. Which is actually a Box Office Mojo/IMDb Pro redesign. I.e., the info we used to be able to find on Box Office Mojo (for free) is now on IMDb Pro (for which we have to pay), and it's harder to find. Thanks, Amazon. 

The big release this Oscar weekend is “Birds of Prey,” the spinoff of “Suicide Squad,” one of the DCEU movies that helped make 2016 such an excruciating year. Its full title is “Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn),” about which I‘ll let Anthony Lane take over:

Beware of movies with long titles. I vaguely recall a Dustin Hoffman film, made in 1971, called “Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?,” but for the life of me I can’t remember the answer to either question. An oversized title has no practical worth, its sole purpose being to give us a mandatory dose of wackiness. Hence the latest contender, “Birds of Prey, and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn.” Don't you feel kooked up just reading that?

Don't know how “Harry Kellerman” did at the box office, but “Birds of Prey” isn't doing fantabulous. It opened on more than 4,000 screens and grossed just $33 mil. Yes, that's the second-best opener of 2020, after “Bad Boys for Life,” but it's dead bottom for DCEU openers. And not even close:

2016 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 28% $330,360,194 $166,007,347 50%
2016 Suicide Squad 27% $325,100,054 $133,682,248 41%
2013 Man of Steel 56% $291,045,518 $116,619,362 40%
2017 Wonder Woman 93% $412,563,408 $103,251,471 25%
2017 Justice League 40% $229,024,295 $93,842,239 41%
2018 Aquaman 66% $335,061,807 $67,873,522 20%
2019 Shazam! 90% $140,371,656 $53,505,326 38%
2020 Birds of Prey 80% $33,250,000 $33,250,000 TBD

Shit, I just realize I‘ve seen all of those movies. And in the theater! Meaning I have to see “Birds of Prey,” too? I have zero interest. “Suicide Squad” was so bad, and while I love me some Margot Robbie, I’m not exactly into Harley Quinn.

It's supposedly OK, 80% on RT, which beats the 27% for “Suicide Squad,” but some part of me worries the highish rating is for the female leads, female screenwriter (Christina Hodson), and female director (Cathy Yan). I.e., too many critics seem to be doing PR for PC culture. Lane's review, at least, is scorching. He says it aces the Bechdel Test but is still “an unholy and sadistic mess.” Girl power?

The debate over why it's bombing should get interesting—and decidedly un-PC. Some will point to this and last year's “Shazam!” and say moviegoers are tired of the DCEU. Others will point to this and last year's X-Men movie, “Dark Phoenix,” which also grossed about $33 mil opening weekend, as examples that female superhero leads don't draw the fanboys. Still others will say (or hope) that it's all indicative of superhero saturation, and this genre is running its course. Me, I'd put it all together. The movie stars a second-tier character from a shitty previous film in a shitty superhero universe, and god aren't we sick of all this already? Plus fanboys probably didn't rush out for it.

Second place for the weekend is the fourth weekend of “Bad Boys for Life,” which is now shockingly at $166 domestic, $336 worldwide. Shocking because: 1) Will Smith hasn't exactly been killing it at the box office; 2) Martin Lawrence?; 3) the original came out a quarter-century ago. Yet here we are. Both totals are way ahead of what “Bad Boys II” grossed in 2003, which was way ahead of what “Bad Boys” grossed in 1995. Meaning expect a fourth. Or more Will Smith/Martin Lawrence movies. 

What Oscar movies are people going to Oscar weekend? Mostly the frontrunner:

3 1917 $9,000,000 $132,542,909
8 Knives Out $2,350,000 $158,941,650
9 Little Women $2,325,000 $102,673,143
13 Jojo Rabbit $1,534,000 $30,280,950
14 Parasite $1,500,000 $35,472,282
18 2020 Oscar Nominated Short Films $825,000 $2,655,444
19 Ford v Ferrari $680,000 $116,376,692
20 Uncut Gems $658,936 $49,244,449
21 Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood $280,000 $142,451,868
22 Bombshell $237,000 $31,272,756
28 A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood $95,000 $61,322,240
31 Pain and Glory $60,616 $4,507,256
38 Les Misérables $29,316 $323,210

We‘re having a few people over for the event. I’ll be rooting for “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood” and anticipating disappointment. 

Posted at 01:10 PM on Sunday February 09, 2020 in category Movies - Box Office