Saturday Update: Warner Bros. reports this morning that Birds of Prey posted $13.025 million on opening day Friday, inclusive of Thursday night’s $4 million preview earnings. Based on its trajectory thus far, we’re estimating an opening weekend around $34 million.
Unfortunately, this result comes in well below expectations as pre-release tracking and the studio itself (according to several sources) were looking to $40-45 million from opening weekend, with some traditional tracking models suggesting an even higher debut to be possible. Friday’s earnings came in short of Shazam!‘s $20.35 million opening day last spring, while also falling below fellow R-rated title Kingsman: The Golden Circle ($15.3 million).
Earlier this week, positive reviews hit the internet and were expected to boost last minute appeal to the target audience. While traditional tracking cited strong appeal to young females, there wasn’t enough turnout from them or the usual male-driven fan base of comic book films to help the spin-off reach its benchmarks this weekend. The studio reports 51 percent of opening day moviegoers were female, while 65 percent overall were over age 25 and 35 percent were under 35.
With a “B+” CinemaScore, it’s challenging to tell what’s in store for the film in the days and weeks ahead. Critics (82 percent) and audiences (85 percent) have largely approved of the film on Rotten Tomatoes, but the disconnect between reception and results is slightly puzzling. The film’s lukewarm marketing push likely didn’t help matters, nor did remaining connections to the divisive Suicide Squad.
Trailers even made sure to call out the lack of connection to Jared Leto’s Joker character from Squad, which in retrospect was ill-timed given the recent (unrelated) Joaquin Phoenix-led Joker film is in the middle of contending for (and winning) major awards after proving to be one of DC’s biggest breakout successes in years. In that sense, a return to a different side of the DC universe right now seems to have lost appeal with fans — regardless of Margot Robbie’s sustained popularity as the iconic Harley Quinn.
Combined with a gallery of generally unknown characters (from the masses’ perspective) and a rating that limited attendance by the target young female crowd, Birds had a number of challenges to face in its efforts to capture a large commercial audience. That’s before even mentioning confused reactions to the film’s full title (which relegated the star character’s name to the book-end of a long parenthetical subtitle) way back during production.
Still, with emphasis on the film’s positive reception, staying power could yet come with minimal direct competition in the weeks ahead.
Internationally, Birds added $10.3 million from 78 markets on Friday, giving it $18.1 million overall from overeas performance thus far. As mentioned in our earlier weekend forecast, production costs were reportedly in the $85 – 100 million range. Factoring in marketing expenses, sources tell Boxoffice the film likely needs to reach upward of $235 million globally to break even for the studio once international television deals are factored in.
Early weekend estimates are below with updated studio estimates to follow on Sunday.
Early Weekend Estimates (Domestic)
FRI, FEB. 7 – SUN, FEB. 9
|1||Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)||$34,000,000||—||4,236||—||$8,026||$34,000,000||1||Warner Bros.|
|2||Bad Boys For Life||$11,100,000||-37%||3,530||-175||$3,144||$165,422,207||4||Sony / Columbia|
|5||Jumanji: The Next Level||$5,500,000||-8%||2,729||-216||$2,015||$298,430,411||9||Sony Pictures|
|6||The Gentlemen||$4,300,000||-23%||2,557||-118||$1,682||$26,971,981||3||STX Entertainment|
|7||Gretel & Hansel||$3,500,000||-43%||3,007||0||$1,164||$11,524,240||2||United Artists Releasing|
|8||Little Women||$2,400,000||-22%||1,805||-496||$1,330||$102,748,143||7||Sony Pictures|
|10||Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker||$2,300,000||-28%||1,746||-456||$1,317||$510,621,478||8||Disney|
|11||Just Mercy||$1,600,000||-26%||1,315||-492||$1,217||$33,450,112||7||Warner Bros.|
|14||The Turning||$1,400,000||-54%||1,848||-723||$758||$14,011,330||3||Universal Pictures|
|16||The Rhythm Section||$1,000,000||-63%||3,049||0||$328||$4,892,991||2||Paramount|
|1||Spies in Disguise||$1,000,000||-16%||800||-228||$1,250||$64,915,667||7||20th Century|
|2||Ford v. Ferrari||$790,000||28%||743||-181||$1,063||$116,486,692||13||20th Century|
|4||Like a Boss||$190,000||-62%||295||-370||$644||$21,953,873||5||Paramount Pictures|
|6||Once Upon a Time In Hollywood||$110,000||-26%||583||-36||$189||$142,281,868||29||Sony Pictures|
|7||A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood||$100,000||-19%||155||-46||$645||$61,327,240||12||Sony Pictures|
|3||Maleficent: Mistress of Evil||$30,000||-14%||68||-16||$441||$113,921,999||17||Disney|
Friday Report: Warner Bros. and DC’s Birds of Prey earned an estimated $4.0 million from Thursday night’s opening shows domestically, which began at 6pm.
Comparatively, this could be a good — or mixed — start, depending on how the film plays out from here. Birds topped the $3.4 million Thursday night start of Kingsman: The Golden Circle back in September 2017 and the $2.2 million bow by John Wick: Chapter Two on the same pre-Presidents Day weekend in February 2017. Those pics went on to $39 million and $30.4 million opening weekends, respectively.
However, it’s worth noting that Birds opened lower than Shazam!‘s $5.9 million Thursday night release (which excludes another $3.325 million from pre-Thursday shows) in April of last year. It opened to a $56.8 million weekend. As a fellow DC title with a built-in fan base, Shazam! remains a strong comparison point thus far — though the other R-rated comps are equally relevant for Birds for now.
Should Birds follow the trajectory of the first Wick sequel, it would land around $55 million this weekend. Following Golden Circle would net close to $46 million, while Shazam!‘s path leads to a bit over $36 million.
The film’s positive reviews could ultimately help it generate a healthy internal multiplier this weekend and go on to a leggy run with the holiday weekend coming up in its second frame. Birds of Prey stands at 85 percent among critics on Rotten Tomatoes currently, with an 88 percent audience score as of Friday morning.
More updates to follow throughout the weekend.