Bird Flu: Femme-Flick Box Office Latest Victim of Coronavirus

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Birds of Prey Sick

It cost 84.5 million to make.

It grossed about $81 million in its opening weekend.

Which has executives at Warner Brothers scratching their heads and wondering: Why is BIRDS OF PREY AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN not making money?

It couldn't be the wordy title. It couldn't be that the movie posters had all the mass appeal of a 14-year-old girl's scrapbook project inspired by Botticelli. It couldn't be that the few ads that were shown revealed the well-known intellectual property characters to be even less like their historical counterparts than any prior DC Extended Universe or televised Arrowverse character. It couldn't be that the R rating shut out a large segment of a target audience that could be remotely interested in a superhero property (if, indeed, BIRDS OF PREY was intended to be one).

No, what ails the anemic cash flow for this film is, according to Warner execs, the Wuhan Coronavirus, which has caused the closure of theaters in China.

This sounds reasonable. China is, after all, a sizeable market, and accounts for a decent chunk of change for movie openers, so it's an excuse with plausibility.

Except for a couple of things. SUICIDE SQUAD, the film for which BIRDS OF PREY is the sequel, (a) never opened in China and (b) made over $100 million more than BOP in its opening weekend. It was also PG-13, had recognizable costuming, and a straightforward, serious title. In fact the only thing that carries over from SUICIDE SQUAD to BOP is Margot Robbie, the lead and also producer of this cinematic ignominy.

Warner Brothers needs one thing to happen to support their supposition: the failure of other premieres. If the box office takes for the release of SONIC, FANTASY ISLAND and THE PHOTOGRAPH all tank, then the studio will be allowed a pass. But if not, the studio execs will for sure be blamed with weakening the already wobbly DC Comics movie universe.