Tracking services took another hit this weekend, though maybe not as sharp as the one that Warner Bros. got. After all they were relying on the optimism that their Harley Quinn film was going to live up to the expectations that box office watchers had based on the awareness of their advertising. The result is a number that looks decent in a rather downbeat start to 2020, but is far from what anyone associated with the project wanted looking forward.
For weeks Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) was being touted for an opening in the $50 million range. That would be in the Shazam!/Green Lantern range for DC properties and was already subject of some concern for the reported $84 million production. Word-of-mouth and international sales were going to be essential to making the film a hit with $250 million worldwide the magic number to begin having that conversation. If the film were able to follow the paths of those two other films, it could have ended up in the $116 million–$140 million range domestically and probably cross its profit margin with no issue. But at least part of that journey may be over right from the get-go.
A $33.25 million start for Birds of Prey puts it in a rather precarious position. Only a third of the films opening in February between $30 million–$35 million have crossed the $100 million line: Get Out, Identity Thief, The Lego Movie 2, and Just Go With It. The writing was seemingly on the wall Friday morning. While some were touting $4 million in Thursday previews as a solid start, all one had to do was look at the films grossing that specific amount to suggest Birds was off to a rocky start. The two R-rated films with that start — Annabelle: Creation ($35 million opening) and Blade Runner 2049 ($32.75 million) — a prequel and sequel from WB finished with $102 million and $92 million, respectively. (The PG-13 films opened between $41 million–75 million.)
The film could still be saved by its international release, however. Last year, Shazam! grossed over $224 million overseas, and that is the lowest showing for a DC property since 2011 when Green Lantern only accumulated an additional $103 million internationally. Birds of Prey debuted with $48 million overseas.
Bad Boys for Life continued its impressive run, falling out of the No. 1 spot after three weeks on top. After 24 days of release, it has amassed $166.3 million after a $12 million weekend. That currently has it on a similar path with Batman Begins, which had $164.9 million in that time and had a fourth weekend of $10.01 million before ultimately grossing over $205 million. Bad Boys 3 has grossed over $336 million worldwide to date. Sam Mendes’ 1917 was in third place with $9 million. The certain multiple-Oscar winner tonight continues to forge a path over $150 million. The WWI film is over $287 million worldwide.
In family entertainment, Jumanji: The Next Level will be crossing $300 million this week domestically, while Dolittle continues to try and chip away at its eventual place as one of the year’s biggest failures. Even though the film is headed to gross over $75 million in North America, it’s worldwide tally may not get much higher than its $175 million budget. (It’s at $158.6 million to date.) Funny enough, Dolittle is still likely to be among the top 10 domestic grossers of 2020 until at least early April.
Better news is Greta Gerwig’s Little Women passing the $100 million mark on Thursday and now has $102 million and $177 million worldwide. That makes Gerwig the 16th woman to direct a film to reach that milestone. Rian Johnson’s Knives Out, the highest-grossing original film in Lionsgate history, got back into the top ten this week and is about to cross $160 million domestic and $300 million worldwide on the week that its first sequel was announced. Finally, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker may have been saddled with the word disappointment given it grossed over $100 million less than The Last Jedi and still has not yet outgrossed Joker worldwide, but it is still the 14th highest-grossing domestic film of all-time with over $510 million. Then on the weekend where Adam Sandler and the Safdie brothers won Independent Spirit Awards, Uncut Gems has upped its total gross to $49.2 million, which passes Gerwig’s Lady Bird to become the highest-grossing domestic film in A24’s history.
Three new releases displaced Glass and The Upside, which held the No. 1 and No. 2 slots for three straight weeks. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part grabbed the top spot with $34.1 million. The reimagining of What Women Want — What Men Want — came in second with $18.2 million and the remake of In Order of Disappearance, Cold Pursuit, with Liam Neeson, was not particularly hot in third with just $11 million. The Upside jumped over Glass for fourth place as they earned $7 million and $6.2 million, respectively. The horror film, The Prodigy, finished in 6th with just $5.8 million. The top 10 films grossed $95.02 million and averaged 57.9% on the Tomatometer. This year’s Top 10 grossed an estimated $81.03 million and averaged 71.1% with critics.
The reconfigured Sonic the Hedgehog finally arrives in theaters after a visual effects overhaul moved it from last November to Valentine’s Day. The first feature film based on the 1991 Sega video game is expected to lead the box office with over $40 million according to tracking services. Speaking of old properties, hit the wayback machine to 1977, as Blumhouse replaces pleasure with horror in Fantasy Island with Michael Peña taking over the role made famous by Ricardo Montalban. Two comedy legends who got their start on Saturday Night Live team up for the first time to remake the great Force Majeure, as Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus star in Downhill, which premiered to a rather tepid response (48%) at this year’s Sundance. Finally, a collection of love stories come together in The Photograph, starring LaKeith Stanfield, Issa Rae and Kelvin Harrison Jr. and others.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]