When a movie opened No.1 at the box-office, it’s usually a cause for celebration. Sadly, that isn’t the case for Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn. Or as it’s now called Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.
At least that’s what some cinema chains in the US are calling it. Why the title change?
The Warner Bros-DC Comics movie — a spin-off of the commercially successful but critically mauled Suicide Squad, following Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn after her break-up with the Joker — topped the North American weekend box-office with US$33 million (S$46 mil).
But those weren’t exactly the numbers the studio was hoping for; they were eyeing the region of US$50-55 million. Internationally, the R-rated Birds of Prey earned US$46 million, bringing in a total of US$79 million against a reported US$82 million budget.
Is it the movie’s fault that it underperformed? Don’t think so. The reviews are generally positive; it scored 80 per cent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. So it must be the marketing department’s fault, then? Probably.
Though no official reason was given, it’s speculated that the shortened title, Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey, will make a bigger impact with potential ticket buyers who aren’t aware that Quinn is the star of the movie, not the lesser known Birds of Prey.
Will it make any difference? We'll find out after this weekend.
No word on whether the title change will affect Singapore; at press time, the NC16 movie is simply listed on cinema websites as Birds of Prey. (Seriously, do you know how much effort it takes to say the full title?) It opened No. 1 over the Feb 6-9 weekend. Warner Brothers didn’t respond to 8days.sg’s request for comment.
Birds of Prey’s post-release title tweaking isn’t unprecedented. Tom Cruise’s Groundhog Day-esque alien invasion flick Edge of Tomorrow was rebranded Live. Die. Repeat. for its home video and digital release. Cruise and Liman are currently working on the sequel called — wait for it — Live. Die. Repeat. And Repeat.
Birds of Prey (NC16) is now in cinemas.
Update: As of Feb 12, the websites of Golden Village, Cathay, Eagle Wings Cinematics, and Filmgarde listed the movie as Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey; Shaw Theatres is simply calling it Birds of Prey. Whatever the title, they still use the original posters.
Photo: TPG News/Click Photos