Birds of Prey doesn’t soar GODDAMMIT MOTHERFUCKER, and Other Box Office News.
Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).
GODDAMMIT, PEOPLE! How many times am I going to have to do this lecture with you all?! You cannot keep crowing about wanting more R-rated movies (let alone R-rated comic book movies), more female-centric blockbusters, and more wild swings on unconventional studio fare only to then be all “new phone who dis?” when Hollywood gets off its complacent arse and makes one for you! Especially when said R-rated female-centric unconventional blockbuster is really fucking good and also the only new thing out that particular weekend! Shit-a-dick, assholes! If your inconsiderate negligence means that I don’t get to spend further theatrical time with this incarnation of Black Canary, Renee Montoya and especially Huntress, but I do have to watch Todd Phillips craft a Joker Cinematic Universe as everyone mistakes his nihilistic childish sociopathy for some kind of profound grand statement about mental illness, I am going to personally come around to each and every single one of your homes and throw your tables out of the bedroom window. Go full Jay & Silent Bob up in this bitch. MEN ARE CANCELLED FOREVER! I DON’T CARE IF THEY WEREN’T AT FAULT FOR THIS, THEY’RE STILL CANCELLED FOREVER! THEY KNOW WHAT THEY DID/DIDN’T DO!
So, as you can probably gather by my… passionate vent just now, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is not off to a particularly good start. In fact, although it is still comfortably your new #1, its weekend haul of $33.2 million is a massive disappointment, lower than even the most conservative of pre-weekend studio forecasts (which had it at $45 million). In fact in fact, that’s the worst opening weekend for a DCEU movie yet – worse even than last April’s notorious underperformer Shazam! (a movie too pure for this sinful earth), which made $53 million when sandwiched between Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame – a franchise whose opening weekends have been on a straight downward trajectory ever since Batman v Superman despite the films getting way better and more interesting post-Justice League. In fact in fact in fact, that’s the worst opening for a live-action DC movie of any stripe since Jonah Hex back in 2010 (RED is not a DC film no matter what The Numbers tries to claim). And even though it’s by far the cheapest DC movie yet made ($84.5 million), the international numbers aren’t looking so hot either (just $48 million from 78 markets perhaps due to fears over the Coronavirus outbreak) and it’s very likely not going to hold well at all cos a lot of new films are crowding into theatres next week. So, if you’ll once again allow me to engage my inner Woolie, GODDAMMIT MOTHERFUCKER.
Instead, it’s the holdovers which were the real victors on Oscars Weekend. No less than three movies with single digit drops on the list, which I don’t think I have ever seen in my 6+ years of doing this gig but am too lazy to go back and check. Best of the lot was Sam Mendes’ 1917, shedding a mere 5% perhaps as a precursor to a full-on increase next weekend should it have won Best Picture – I’m writing this on Sunday night before the ceremony starts, Wendy will have to edit in later whether it did steal Parasite’s trophy or not. Close behind, somehow, was Jumanji: The Next Level, which shall next week become the first consecutive double-digit stay on the Top 10 since The Lion King 2019 (and before that Aladdin 2019) because the dream of the 90s is alive in cinemas worldwide; a drop of just 8%. Miraculously inches behind that stellar performance was Rian Johnson’s Knives Out which had finally departed us last week, just as it hit double digits in release, yet is now once more back on the chart after a mere 9% week-to-week drop! Meanwhile, The Rhythm Section, which had displaced it for #10 last week, sank from the record-low opening by 63% in its sophomore frame to just $1 million. That particular female-centric R-rated action film failing I’m less upset about since it’s quite shit, but two wrongs don’t make a right! Expect me to hold Birds of Prey against you all for at least the next few weeks! I shall be VERY INSUFFERABLE!
“It’s not a fuckin’ Top 10, it’s a Full List! I’m not 12!”
US Box Office Results: Friday 7th February 2020 – Sunday 9th February 2020
1] Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
$33,250,000 / NEW
Review is coming on Wednesday over at Soundsphere Magazine but what you need to know, in case you couldn’t already tell, is that I loved this. The kind of love where I came out having really liked it whilst acknowledging its not insignificant flaws, but in the 24 hours since viewing (at time of writing) the stuff it does wrong (mostly related to DC’s continued massacring the art of the needle-drop) has been significantly eclipsed by the stuff it gets so very, very right. The little details, the cast chemistry, the visual flair (a.k.a. “what if we kept what David Ayer was going for with Suicide Squad but feminised and also made it not shit?”), the character and characters. I already desperately wanted to love this anyway, but it’s almost exactly what I needed and I want to drag every single one of my girl friends to every available showing until the year is out.
Also, and I cannot stress this enough, even though she’s only in the thing for maybe 15 minutes tops, Birds of Prey has reinvigorated my crush on Mary Elizabeth Winstead something fierce.
2] Bad Boys for Life
$12,005,000 / $166,327,207
Just wanted to remind y’all that “Switch” was, still is, and always will be a BOP.
$9,000,000 / $132,542,909
Congratulations/commiserations/conmiserlations to Sam Mendes and his team on their history-making win/loss/some-wins-some-losses at the Oscars this past weekend! Who said that videogame movies could never be Oscar worthy?
$6,660,000 / $63,959,985
Was hoping to have the review up on Soundsphere for when it got officially released in the UK last Friday, but the Monday lunchtime after-release is still timely enough by my reckoning! Blame depression, go read the words, listen to Pixies instead!
$5,530,000 / $298,460,411
I know that the “consecutive double-digit Top 10 stay” thing didn’t sound too impressive, but the last film to achieve that feat prior to the Disney remakes was Black Panther so it is actually a rather big deal. Jumanji, equally as culturally important and beloved as The Lion King, Aladdin and Black Panther! Sure, that sounds ludicrous but you can’t argue with the stone-cold factual statistics!
6] The Gentlemen
$4,180,000 / $26,851,981
For the exact opposite of Guy Ritchie’s fun dives into the cold-hearted sociopathic and oft-racist-and-sexist underbelly of the human condition, Lee Thacker has taken a look at Marielle Heller’s not-biopic of Fred Rogers, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and very much enjoyed what he saw.
7] Gretel & Hansel
$3,510,659 / $11,534,899
Speaking of little-promoted horror movies in the US which will probably get dumped straight-to-DVD in the UK months later to no fanfare at all, remember 47 Meters Down? Remember how that had an unrelated sequel? Remember that was released in the US in August of last year? …ok, I know the answer to all of those questions is “no.” The point is that Shaun Rodger reviewed 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, which has only just made its way over to these shores.
8] Knives Out
$2,350,000 / $158,941,650
For the hat-trick of site article plugs – that, Fun Fact, was the remit with which I pitched this series to my editors in the first place, a balance of Box Office analysis and promoting other articles on the site, yet only adequately fulfil roughly once every nine weeks – Dave Bond’s Bond retrospective ahead of No Time to Die has finally hit the Daniel Craig era with Casino Royale! Probably my pick for Objective Best James Bond Movie, which is a wholly different thing from Best Bond Movie but that’s a whole other lengthy discussion for another day.
9] Little Women
$2,325,000 / $102,673,143
Well, it’s been a surprisingly damn good run for Greta Gerwig’s little movie that could. Let’s celebrate the busting of $100 mil domestic and simultaneously commemorate its departure from the chart with this classic bit of Simpsons!
$2,226,000 / $510,547,478
…nope, still not in a mood where I am willing to tolerate hearing the Star Wars theme, or anything to do with Star Wars, again. Which is kind of a pain because the odd-numbered “Percentage Complete” notification on LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga is bugging the shit outta my Asperger’s.
Dropped out: The Turning, The Rhythm Section