‘Birds of Prey’: Here’s When Fans Will Be Able to Stream the Movie at Home
Birds of Prey — or Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey — is easily one of 2020’s most-talked-about films so far. A critical hit, the movie made headlines for its perceived box office failure. It’s true director Cathy Yan’s film did not hit the numbers of previous DC Comics films, including the similarly R-rated Joker.
But it did earn back its production budget with its worldwide debut. Moreover, Birds of Prey delivered one of the best entries in the erratic DC Extended Universe to date. Now, with theaters closed due to coronavirus concerns, Warner Bros. is significantly bumping up the film’s home release.
‘Birds of Prey’ is one of the year’s biggest hits (so far)
With a worldwide box office gross of just under $200 million, Birds of Prey falls short of 2019’s biggest superhero hits. Industry insiders chalk that up to both the generally poor response to Suicide Squad as well as poor marketing. But even despite all that, Birds of Prey still stands as one of the year’s biggest hits to date.
Given the circumstances, Warner Bros.’ decision to release the film digitally doesn’t imply any disappointment. After all, with theater chains like AMC and Regal closing up until further notice, Birds of Prey‘s — and every other film’s — theatrical runs come to a screeching halt. Putting the film on demand sooner rather than later, if anything, is a show of confidence.
Warner Bros. is releasing ‘Birds of Prey’ early on demand
As Warner Bros. announced, Birds of Prey will be available for purchase on digital on-demand platforms on March 24, 2020. Normally, a turnaround time of six weeks from theatrical debut to home release would be a bad sign. But the coronavirus is having just as unprecedented an effect on Hollywood as everywhere else.
Birds of Prey will be available for purchase for $19.99 and then for rental in April, Variety reports. Likewise, other recent Warner Bros. releases — such as Just Mercy and The Gentlemen — are being pushed to on-demand soon. This move echoes Universal’s decision to release current theatrical efforts, including The Invisible Man, as a 48-hour digital rental.
Following that news, Yan herself tweeted support for an early on-demand release for Birds of Prey. Though not an outright failure, the film is very much on the bubble. The general guideline in Hollywood dictates a major release needs to make at least double its production budget at the box office to become profitable. Yan’s film is only about $30 million past that point.
Will Warner Bros. green-light a sequel if it performs well?
It’s very possible this thinking is another part of the reason Warner Bros. went forward with this strategy. The early on-demand release could be the studio’s way of deciding whether it should pursue a sequel. If, as many suspect, Birds of Prey‘s less-than-expected box office is due to lack of awareness, this release gives the film a second chance to find its audience.
For years, Warner Bros. has had a Gotham City Sirens film in development. Such a project could see Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn join forces with Poison Ivy and Catwoman, as they do in the comics. Since Harley is the standout character, this route is more likely than an outright sequel focusing on the Birds of Prey team, though they too could appear.
Even if such a film doesn’t happen, Birds of Prey fans will still get at least one more chance to see Robbie as Harley Quinn. The Oscar-nominated actress will reprise her role in James Gunn’s forthcoming The Suicide Squad. That release — which serves as a soft reboot of and a sequel to 2016’s Suicide Squad — is set to arrive in theaters on Aug. 6, 2021.
Birds of Prey will be available to purchase on-demand on March 24, 2020.