ESC

DC’s ‘Birds of Prey’ Looks Like the Brand’s Biggest Bomb Since Jonah Hex

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) hit theaters on Friday and it has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster for DC Comics and Warner Brothers. While Suicide Squad was mediocre bordering on terrible but a surprise success, this spin-off was a surprising failure despite being the exact same level of mediocre to terrible.

Part of the issue is that Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is not strong enough to carry a solo film and this is very much a Harley Quinn solo film where two-thirds of the Birds of Prey have a supporting role because DC still doesn’t know what they’re doing and keeps “saving” characters like Batgirl for other projects that either don’t pan out or are terrible.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead is great as Huntress, but that’s about the only bright spot in the film. Maybe she can show up on Legends of Tomorrow, the TV show with the actually good Black Canary where characters who were too good for the shows they were stuck on go to live.

So what lead to the dismal $33 million opening weekend for Birds of Prey? It’s not a good movie is what happened. We’re seeing this more and more where big studio films keep getting good aggregate scores and then imploding at the box office.

If you’re going to market a movie like Birds of Prey as some sort of feminist masterpiece that little girls are going to grow up idolizing and give it a super goofy name, why is it rated R? And if you’re going to make a rated-R Harley Quinn movie, why is it a PG-13 action film where people say “fuck” instead of something outrageous and over-the-top like Deadpool or something with a meaningful point to make like Logan or Joker? Birds of Prey doesn’t know who it’s for, what it’s saying or why it exists and that’s why it failed.

If you want to see Birds of Prey, just throw on the 1991 Kathleen Turner vehicle V.I. Warshawski, listen to any Now That’s What I Call Music album and say fuck every few minutes and you’ll get the same basic experience and save yourself a trip to the theater.

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