Box Office: 'Birds of Prey' Flying Lower Than Expected

Claudette Barius

The Margot Robbie-led DC movie is the first studio superhero pic of 2020.

Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn is flying lower than expected at the Friday box office for a domestic debut in the $33 million to $35 million range, according to early returns.

Heading into the weekend, the Margot Robbie-led DC movie had eyed a $50 million opening (Warner Bros. was more conservative in projecting $45 million).

Overseas, the year's first superhero pic has earned $7.5 million since opening midweek. In parts of Asia, including South Korea, the film is being impacted by fears over the coronavirus.

In North America, the R-rated pic is on course to earn roughly $13 million on Friday, including $4 million in Thursday previews.

While Birds of Prey's preview gross came in far under other recent R-rated superhero movies — like 2016's Deadpool, which earned $12.7 million is previews, and Joker ($13.3 million) — ticket sales were on par with the studio's female-fronted Ocean's 8.

Cathy Yan directed the Warner Bros. title, which sees Robbie reprise her Suicide Squad role as Harley Quinn, along with DCU newcomers Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Black Canary), Rosie Perez (Renee Montoya), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Huntress) and Ewan McGregor. Sue Kroll, Robbie and Bryan Unkeless produced.

Birds of Prey has gotten largely positive reviews, sitting at a 87 percent rating on aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. 

Box office holdovers include Bad Boys for Life, which has led the box office for the past three weekends.

12:30 p.m. Updated with revised weekend estimates.