“Harley Quinn & The Birds of Prey” Worldwide Debut Projected to be Lower Than “Shazam”

Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey movie worldwide opening

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn (Image: Screengrab)

According to Deadline, the global opening for the upcoming Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey movie is looking at a $110 million to $125 million range. I mean, if the much-anticipated (in some corners of the DC fandom) movie opens lower than Shazam, there’s definitely something wrong there.

Personally, I would like any movie that features poorly written queer characters and uses queerbaiting for promotional reasons to flop and flop hard. There’s no reason for anyone to give such films the support the studio hopes for. But anyway, I’m here to talk numbers and see where Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey will likely perch during its worldwide debut.

As of writing this, the R-rated flick is looking at a $110 million t0 $125 million global opening. If it falls anywhere in that window, it will be quite lower than the approx. $158 global opening of Shazam.

Shazam went on to gross around $364 million during its theatrical run in 2019. And it is also the DCEU’s lowest-grossing film. So, unless Harley and the BoP shows some staying power, it risks making Shazam the second lowest-grossing DCEU film.

And, frankly, that’s just not a great look for a character that was considered a fan-favorite and ready for a solo adventure after 2016’s Suicide Squad.

Now, in 2020, was the world really asking for a Harley Quinn solo film? I said something similar during my coverage of the Charlie’s Angels reboot flopping. It all comes down to what the fandom is excited about.

In my opinion, Harley works great in a team setting, especially when she’s with Poison Ivy and Catwoman (as shown in the Gotham City Sirens comics). Now, that’s a film I still want to see.

What I didn’t want was Harley (because of the power Margot Robbie had as one of the producers) encroaching on the Birds of Prey brand and poorly handling Cassandra Cain in the latest movie.

Robbie has been vocal about the need for women to support other women in films and creating opportunities, but it’s clear that Harley Quinn and the BoP is a Robbie-starring vehicle to the point where she rewrote other comic book characters to ensure Harley shone the brightest.

According to some early reviews, one of the characters (who has been used a lot in the promotional content to increase excitement) ended up having a limited role. And that’s just unfortunate for certain fans.

Team movies need to be team movies. It’s one of the reasons I couldn’t make myself enjoy the X-Men live-action films because they were all about Wolverine. At least the MCU tries to give everyone something to do when the characters operate as a team.

As for the domestic numbers, HQ and the BoP is looking at a $50 million to $55 million opening. Against a reported net production budget of $84.5 million, the film could have what it takes to be profitable for the studio, even if just a smidge.

Again, becoming the lowest-grossing DCEU movie is one of the worst things that could happen to the upcoming women-led title.

Do I want films with well-written women superheroes? Duh! The more the merrier. 

But what I don’t want are films that feature poorly written queer representation. Miss me with all of that!

Unfortunately, instead of Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey being a superhero film filled with queer awesomeness (and an exciting plot), it decided to go in the opposite direction.

And that’s why, if this movie fails to be considered a success, I won’t feel bad or disappointed at all.

However, if the Harley Quinn movie franchise continues, I hope it does better in the queer representation department the next time.

Even the recent Harley Quinn animated series on DC Universe decided to take a straightwashed route with the titular character and Poison Ivy.

Why is this happening to Harley? Do the writers and marketing teams think her being queer will stop her from entering the mainstream through films and animated content?

Embracing Harley’s queerness is what will make her successful, not ignoring it.

Feel free to share your thoughts with us.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.


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