LOS ANGELES (AP) – â€œBirds of Prey,â€ 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.
â€œBirds 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 â€œBombshellâ€ and the previous DC film, the $1 billion-grossing â€œJoker,â€ is up for a leading 11 Oscars.
But despite those lead-ins, â€œBirds of Preyâ€ 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 â€œBirds of Preyâ€ made $1.9 million, it came in second to a local release. â€œBirds of Preyâ€ 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.
â€œBirds of Prey,â€ the week’s lone new wide release, cost approximately $100 million to make. Cathy Yan directs the â€œSuicide Squadâ€ 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 â€œBad Boys for Lifeâ€ 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 â€œBad 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 â€œ1917,â€ 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 â€œKnives Out,â€ 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 â€œLittle Women,â€ 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 â€œ1917,” â€œJoker,â€ â€œFord v Ferrariâ€ and â€œOnce Upon a Time … in Hollywood.â€ (Counting overseas sales, â€œParasiteâ€ has also surpassed $100 million.) Netflix hasn’t reported box-office data for its two best-picture contenders, â€œThe Irishmanâ€ and â€œMarriage Story.â€
Holdovers â€œDoolittleâ€ ($6.7 million in its fourth weekend) and â€œJumaji: The Next Levelâ€ ($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. â€œBad Boys for Life,â€ $12 million.
3. â€œ1917,â€ $9 million.
4. â€œ Doolittle,â€ $6.7 million.
5. â€œJumanji: The Next Level,â€ $5.5 million.
6. â€œThe Gentlemen,â€ $4.2 million.
7. â€œGretel & Hansel,â€ $3.5 million.
8. â€œKnives Out,” $2.4 million.
9. â€œLittle Women,â€ $2.3 million.
10. â€œStar Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,â€ $2.2 million.
Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP