“Birds of Prey,” the DC Comics' Harley Quinn spinoff, made a tepid debut in theaters over the weekend, opening in No. 1 but below expectations with $33.3 million domestically, according to studio estimates Sunday.
“Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)," an R-rated Warner Bros. release, arrived in theaters while its star — Margot Robbie — is nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in “Bombshell” and the previous DC film, the $1 billion-grossing “Joker,” is up for a leading 11 Oscars.
But despite those lead-ins, “Birds of Prey” came in for a rocky landing. It had been expected to open around $50 million. It fared similarly overseas, grossing an estimated $48 million from 78 international markets.
Warner Bros. said the coronavirus impacted sales in Asia, though in South Korea, where “Birds of Prey” made $1.9 million, it came in second to a local release. “Birds of Prey” doesn't have a China release scheduled, and "Suicide Squad" never opened there. Cinemas in the country, the world's second largest movie market, have shut down amid the coronavirus outbreak.
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“Birds of Prey,” the week's lone new wide release, cost approximately $100 million to make. Cathy Yan directs the “Suicide Squad” spinoff, which Robbie also produced. Robbie stars as Quinn, the crazed criminal who after splitting with Joker is a solo vigilante. Reviews were mostly favorable, with an 80% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences gave it a B-plus CinemaScore.
After three weeks atop the box office, Sony Picture's “Bad Boys for Life” dropped to second with $12 million in its fourth weekend. The action comedy, which reunites Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, has grossed $336 million worldwide.
Though analysts are forecasting a down year for Hollywood at the box office, the success of “Bad Boys for Life" has helped drive the year's ticket sales to an almost 10% uptick over the first five weeks of 2019, according to data firm Comscore.
Ahead of the Academy Awards, several nominees padded their ticket-sales totals. Universal's “1917,” the Sam Mendes-directed World War I film, took in another $9 million in its seventh weekend, good for third place. The film, a favorite for Sunday night, has grossed $132.5 million domestically and $287.4 million globally.
Rian Johnson's “Knives Out,” nominated for best screenplay, added $2.4 million, bringing its North American total to $158.9 million. Lionsgate earlier this week confirmed a sequel to the acclaimed whodunit.
Greta Gerwig's Louisa May Alcott adaptation “Little Women,” up for six Oscars including best picture, also ranked in the top 10 with $2.3 million. Its seven-week domestic total is $102.7 million. That gives the best-picture category five $100 million-grossing movies, including “1917," “Joker,” “Ford v Ferrari” and “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood.” (Counting overseas sales, “Parasite” has also surpassed $100 million.) Netflix hasn't reported box-office data for its two best-picture contenders, “The Irishman” and “Marriage Story.”
Holdovers “Doolittle” ($6.7 million in its fourth weekend) and “Jumaji: The Next Level” ($5.5 million) rounded out the top five.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore.
1. "Birds of Prey," $33.3 million ($48 million international).
2. “Bad Boys for Life,” $12 million.
3. “1917,” $9 million.
4. “ Doolittle,” $6.7 million.
5. “Jumanji: The Next Level,” $5.5 million.
6. “The Gentlemen,” $4.2 million.
7. “Gretel & Hansel,” $3.5 million.
8. “Knives Out," $2.4 million.
9. “Little Women,” $2.3 million.
10. “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” $2.2 million.