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The reason why Birds of Prey is 'flopping' at the box office

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13.02.2020

There is an odious rumour going around. The kind that stops me in my tracks and prompts me to turn my head, one eyebrow raised in suspicion, ready to ask: “Wait, what?”

The rumour, you see, is that the movie Birds of Prey, starring Margot Robbie as a freshly-freed-from-the-Joker Harley Quinn, isn’t doing very well at the box office – with the underlying implication that the film is flopping because it’s not actually very good. But the reality is, of course, more complex than that.

Birds of Prey is a good movie. It’s immensely fun, absurd at times but in a way that always feels in line with its tone, and well-written. It’s also very aesthetically pleasing (this is my way of saying that the outfits are absolutely out of this world) and home to some of the best body fight scenes I’ve seen in a while. The soundtrack is a treat. Crucially, Birds of Prey gives the character of Harley Quinn, who seemed inextricably tied to Jared Leto’s Joker in the 2016 Suicide Squad, a much-needed liberation story.

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

The way box office figures work is a little more complex than “said film makes what sounds like a meager amount of money” = “said film sucks”. It makes sense to compare the amount a film brings in to the amount of money that was spent making it. As it turns out, Birds of Prey has made $85m worldwide in its first five days of release, compared with an estimated budget of $84.5m.

This somewhat mitigates the apocalyptic reports of a box office flop, but sure – even I will admit it: Birds of Prey still hasn’t........

© Independent