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There's been a lot of hand-wringing -- and smugness, from some sectors -- at the under-performance of DC's Birds of Prey. It's definitely not doing as well as its predecessors in the superhero genre, but it's also far from the only movie struggling to find an audience in February 2020. For every Sonic the Hedgehog success story, there have been plenty of disappointments. Not all of them are DC movies, though, so the expectations and comparisons are different. But if we're going to call out the downsides we should also acknowledge the upsides.
First, let's acknowledge that Birds of Prey -- or Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey, if we're going to go with that new title -- lost 671 domestic theaters in the February 21-23, 2020 weekend. That's a significant amount to lose. It's now at 3,565 theaters in its third weekend. Compared to other DCEU movies, that's a big drop:
Not great, but a few things in Birds of Prey's defense: Even losing that many screens, Birds of Prey "only" dropped 59.2% this weekend from last weekend. That's nowhere near the worst domestic drop of the week.
Harley Quinn's movie ended up in third place with a $7 million domestic weekend, per Box Office Mojo. Also, Birds of Prey already passed $100 million at the international box office for a current worldwide total of $173,729,015. The film was made on a production budget of around $100 million, not counting marketing, so it's going to need a lot more than that to break even. At least $250 million, per estimates. But it's slowly finding that money, especially overseas.
As to the rest of the box office this weekend, The Biggest Loser award goes to The Photograph with a 77% drop, landing it in 10th place after it was 4th last weekend. It didn't drop any theaters, it just dropped. That's not the worst percentage drop ever, but it was the worst this weekend, but only by a little. The Turning dropped 74.9% after losing 295 screens.
Other drops bigger than Birds of Prey's 59.2% include Downhill living up to its title with a 69% drop in its second weekend (Will & Julia, what went wrong?); Fantasy Island dropping 66% from its opening last weekend; Dolittle dropping 62% after losing 6014 theaters in its sixth weekend; Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker dropping 61.8% after losing 434 theaters; and Just Mercy dropping 65% after losing 423 theaters.
Even the #1 movie of the weekend (again, in a close race), Sonic the Hedgehog saw a 54.7% drop after adding 31 screens to currently play on 4,198. That's not a bigger drop than Birds of Prey, but it's close and actually more than the 48% drop Birds of Prey had in its second weekend. Granted, Harley has made less money -- Sonic is already over $200M worldwide -- but hopefully if Birds of Prey doesn't keep losing screens it can slowly pick up an audience one weekend at a time. The movie does have a lot of fans who've been getting the movie trending with reasons to watch Harley Quinn's story.
Some weekends have much bigger drops but also bigger gains. The only eyeball-widening win this weekend was The Lodge getting a 367% boost after adding 301 theaters. It's usually smaller films that widen that get the biggest gains like that. Other than The Lodge, the wins were smaller, like Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words gaining 97.8% over last weekend by adding 36 theaters.
The biggest per-screen average winner this weekend is the new Jane Austen adaptation Emma -- I don't know why they style it as "Emma." with a period, I can't go with that -- with a per-screen average of $46,000 from playing on just five screens.
What, if anything did you watch in theaters this weekend?