'Birds of Prey' flies low on Oscars weekend with tepid debut

Margot Robbie appears in a scene from "Birds of Prey." The Harley Quinn spinoff made a tepid debut in theaters over the weekend, opening in No. 1 but below expectations with $33.3 million domestically.

‘Birds of Prey’ flies low with tepid debut

LOS ANGELES — “Birds of Prey,” 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.

“Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn),” an R-rated Warner Bros. release, arrived in theaters while its star — Margot Robbie — was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in “Bombshell” and the previous DC film, the $1 billion-grossing “Joker,” is up for a leading 11 Oscars.

But despite those lead-ins, “Birds of Prey” came in for a rocky landing. It had been expected to open around $50 million. “Birds of Prey,” the week’s lone new wide release, cost approximately $100 million to make.

After three weeks atop the box office, Sony Picture’s “Bad Boys for Life” 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 “Bad Boys for Life” has helped drive the year’s ticket sales to an almost 10% increase over the first five weeks of 2019, according to data firm Comscore.

Ahead of the Academy Awards, several nominees padded their totals. Universal’s “1917,” the Sam Mendes-directed World War I film, took in another $9 million in its seventh weekend, good for third place. The film has grossed $132.5 million domestically and $287.4 million globally.

Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out,” added $2.4 million, bringing its North American total to $158.9 million.

Greta Gerwig’s Louisa May Alcott adaptation “Little Women,” also ranked in the top 10 with $2.3 million. Its seven-week domestic total is $102.7 million. That gave the best-picture category five $100 million-grossing movies, including “1917,” “Joker,” “Ford v Ferrari” and “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood.” (Counting overseas sales, “Parasite” has also surpassed $100 million.) Netflix hasn’t reported box-office data for its two best-picture contenders, “The Irishman” and “Marriage Story.”

Holdovers “Doolittle” ($6.7 million in its fourth weekend) and “Jumaji: The Next Level” ($5.5 million) rounded out the top five.

The Associated Press