"Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)" didn't lure moviegoers to theaters over the weekend. So, Warner Bros. is trying a new tactic.
Overnight, the newest DC Extended Universe film was redubbed "Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey," a last-ditch effort to persuade comic book fans to see the film.
Even with critics singing praises for "Birds of Prey," the newest entrant in the DC Extended Universe didn't live up to its opening-weekend expectations.
The long-awaited comic book film featuring the delightfully psychotic Harley Quinn hauled in around $33.25 million in North America, shy of the $40 million to $60 million that many analysts had predicted. It is the weakest opening of any film in Warner Bros.′ DC extended universe.
Adding the international opening weekend haul, "Birds of Prey" nearly made back its reported $84.5 million budget.
The film charmed critics, garnering an 80% Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the third-highest rating for any movie in the DCEU, just behind "Wonder Woman" and "Shazam."
While many thought moviegoers shied away from seeing the film in its opening weekend because of its ties to the not-so-beloved "Suicide Squad," Warner Bros. seems to think it was the lack of Harley Quinn's name in the title.
After all, Margot Robbie's turn as the quirky clown queen was the clear standout performance in the 27% Rotten "Suicide Squad" film from 2016.
The hope is that with continued positive word of mouth, "Birds of Prey" could still have a solid box office run.
"Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey" is the first-ever all-female team-up comic book movie. Its success would mean more films of its kind from DC and rival Marvel.
There have been murmurings that a solid box office gross from "Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey" could launch spinoff movies for characters in the film or allow Robbie to reprise Harley Quinn in a Gotham City Sirens film, which would bring Catwoman and Poison Ivy into the DCEU.
Robbie, as a producer on the film, helped persuade Warner Bros. to take a chance on the feature, which was directed and written by women. She also championed the R rating.
"Despite coming in a bit below expectations in North America, 'Birds Of Prey' was solid internationally and with great reviews and high marks from audiences, Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn and her flock could enjoy long-term playability in the coming weeks," Paul Deregarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, said Sunday.
Disclosure: Comcast, the parent company of CNBC, owns Rotten Tomatoes.