Spare a thought for Huntress and Black Canary, for the Clown Princess of Crime has officially taken top billing on Birds of Prey.
Shortly after its release (and subsequent failure at the domestic box office), Warner Bros. made the decision to rebrand its Suicide Squad spinoff as Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey, all in the hope of boosting SEO (search engine optimization) so that budding comic book movie fans are able to find the movie as quickly as possible. Seemingly, Birds of Prey doesn’t garner as much engagement online without overtly adding a dose of Dr. Quinzel.
It’s a situation that evokes memories of Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt’s far-future thriller Edge of Tomorrow, which was later titled Live Die Repeat in time for its home video release – a fate that will likely befall Harley as well. So you can effectively say goodbye to the whole ‘Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn.’
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s a move that has drawn criticism (and, in some cases, outright mockery) online. Twitter, specifically, where a number of fans called out the Birds of Prey marketing.
WB really should change the name to “We f*ucked up not marketing this as a solo Harley Quinn movie and introducing the Birds of Prey so now we have to change the title so people know what it’s really about” pic.twitter.com/0POw8fUcD8
— Superman81 (@ManOfSteel37013) February 10, 2020
A significant takeaway from #BirdsOfPrey is that titles are HARD, and they MATTER. A lot.
The excellent (and underrated) EDGE OF TOMORROW was unofficially rebranded as LIVE DIE REPEAT for DVD – the title it should've had in the first place.
Sometimes hindsight is 20/20. pic.twitter.com/eRyQgEVlnl
— Blake Northcott ? (@BlakeNorthcott) February 12, 2020
Birds of Prey is getting a title change. It's gonna be called"Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey"
If they're gonna rename it why not call it "Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey"
— CBM CRINGE (@CBMCringe) February 10, 2020
“Wait is this the Harley Quinn movie?!” – apparently confused or disinterested movie goers that actually facilitated a post release movie title change pic.twitter.com/LUCWmd3m4o
— Author Brad Acevedo (@wolfsoul4) February 12, 2020
Didja know they had to change the title to put Harley Quinn’s name first Just In Case people didn’t know it was a movie about her…..damn the advertising team for this movie did a crap job
— ?queer?cryptid? (@calicoqueer) February 12, 2020
IT DOESN'T NEED TO HAVE BIRDS OF PREY IN THE TITLE AT ALL!
JUST CALLED IT THE RISE OF HARLEY QUINN OR SOMETHIN'! https://t.co/67kFNkVB1L
— ???❤️?Hearts, Chocolates and SQUIDS?❤️??? (@RainbowSquidInk) February 11, 2020
In order to more confidently boost box office, we would like to inform you that the title of the film has been changed to HARLEY QUINN: MEDICINE WOMAN
— Nat Brehmer (@NatBrehmer) February 11, 2020
Harley Quinn: Live. Die. Repeat.
— Daniel K (@DSK_Daniel) February 11, 2020
Whether Warner’s last-minute alteration has any tangible effect on box office performance remains to be seen. For now, Birds of Prey is performing well below expectations, having taken just $33.5 million in North America during its opening weekend – a far cry from the $135.1 million collected by Suicide Squad across the same period back in 2016.
That means the newly-titled Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey is staring down the face of a H-U-G-E second weekend at the international box office, where it’ll go toe-to-toe with Sonic The Hedgehog. But who will triumph? The blue speedster? Or Gotham’s Clown Princess of Crime? We’ll find out very soon indeed.