Less than a week after its debut in cinemas, it looks like Birds of Prey has been renamed, and it seems to be due to a disappointing opening weekend.
As reported earlier this week, Birds of Prey may have opened at number 1 at the U.S. box office, but it only grossed $US33.2 million, which is around $US11 million short of what Warner Bros. was hoping for the film.
Fast forward five days and the company seems to be hoping that a cheeky re-brand will help make up some of the windfall. The new title of the film appears to be Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.
That being said, there seems to be some confusion to how official it is, despite it appearing on cinema marketing.
According to The Verge's Julia Alexander, a Warner Bros. representative dodged the question when asked if the change was official.
Warner Bros. reps tell me the recent appearance of Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey is "search expansion for ticket sites" when asked if Birds of Prey title change is official.
I have followed up to ask, "lol so it's still Birds of Prey officially or?"
— Julia Alexander (@loudmouthjulia) February 11, 2020
So maybe Warner Bros. is just making an SEO play?
If it is official, I kinda get where they're coming from. The full title of the movie is Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). While it's fun, relegating the most recognised character of a new franchise to the back of a very long title (that is generally cut to just Birds of Prey) wasn't exactly a smart move. Harley Quinn may not be the only kick arse character, but it's important to recognise that she is the gateway drug for a lot of people who may not be familiar with the comic book series.
Birds of Prey could very well have bombed. As a spin-off to the mostly awful Suicide Squad, expectations certainly weren’t high. But, defying all expectations, Birds of Prey is great. It’s fun, over-the-top, colourful and extravagant. Join Gizmodo Australia as we discuss everything we liked, and didn’t like, about the film.
The lack of good marketing around Birds of Prey in general has been disappointment, to say the least. When a comic book movie with a extremely popular character is dumped in early February, there's more wrong than just the title. It's difficult to not consider whether this would have happened if the leads weren't majority women.
While some major U.S. cinemas have already changed the name in their marketing, it's currently unclear whether it will extend to Australia. At the time of writing Event Cinemas, Hoyts and Palace Cinemas were still advertising the film as Birds of Prey.
AMC, Cinemark, and Regal have all updated their sites to reflect the new title:
— Comicbook.com (@ComicBook) February 10, 2020
Birds of Prey is currently in cinemas and you can read the Gizmodo review right here.