Welcome to the latest edition of “This Studio Doesn’t Understand Their Audience.” Today’s contestant is Warner Bros. You know them and love them as the parent company of DC Entertainment, and you also know them as the studio that took forever to get their own characters right. For the past few films, however, they seemed to be hitting a stride, and with Birds of Prey finally hitting theaters, they were expanding into new territory.
But, as I’m sure many of you have already read at this point, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) isn’t doing too well. To put things into perspective, I don’t think it’s going to flop by any means, but it’s certainly performing worse than expected. And rather than just sit back and let things lie, Warner Bros. is taking measures to ensure audiences know what they’re missing out on.
The result? Well, according to ComicBook.com, they’re changing the title in theaters. Instead of Birds of Prey, it’s being called Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey. There’s no word yet on whether that’ll mean its home release will have that altered moniker, but I can’t help but think this is a bit of a mistake. Granted, I don’t think this will negatively affect them. I just think it’s missing the big issue here.
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From what I’ve been able to tell in my limited perspective, it’s not that people don’t know Harley Quinn’s in the movie, but that the trailers didn’t engage them. While I actually enjoyed what the trailers had to offer, many others don’t agree. And, the reality is, while critics may have enjoyed the film, it could just be a movie created for a smaller audience. At least that’s what box office analyst Jeff Bock thinks.
“They took a swing, and they missed,” said Bock. “It wasn’t for the movie masses, it was a niche comic-book movie. Warner Bros. keeps having to learn these lessons.”
Let’s be real. It follows a side character of a side character, features a team few outside of comics and animation fans know, is spun off of a maligned DC film, and features goofy over-the-top antics. And that’s not even mentioning the ensemble female angle. I really enjoyed the film quite a bit, but it may have amounted to a movie that simply appealed to fewer people than WB realized.
Now, keep in mind, that’s not to say there ISN’T demand out there for this movie. While the film didn’t blow the doors off the box office, it’s hardly a flop. It may have time to reach profitability (which is likely around the $250 million mark), but it’s not impossible by any stretch of the imagination. It may just be a matter of managing expectations for the future.
What what do you think? Why do you think Birds of Prey failed? Do you think it failed in the first place? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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SOURCE: ComicBook.com, Variety