‘Birds of Prey’: Why Do Some Men Not Like the Movie?

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) premiered Feb. 7. The movie is the first in the DC Extended Universe to receive an R rating. Despite strong reviews, it had the lowest opening weekend of any DCEU movie to date. While there are a number of contributing factors, some men are faulting Birds of Prey because of its supposed lack of sex appeal.

Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Margot Robbie of 'Birds Of Prey'
Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Margot Robbie of ‘Birds of Prey’ | David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage

People started posting pictures of empty theaters

Birds of Prey brought in $33.3 million domestically and $81.3 million globally on its opening weekend. Some analysts and publications faulted the movie’s R rating, the coronavirus outbreak, and the Academy Awards for the movie’s slow start.

After Birds of Prey came out, some moviegoers posted pictures of empty movie theaters claiming no one was seeing the movie. While it’s true that Birds of Prey underperformed in theaters despite strong reviews, fans pointed out that the tweets seem like a targeted attempt to prove the movie is unsuccessful.

“Honest question: anyone going to into literally any male-led movie and taking pictures of the empty theaters to ‘prove’ that it’s a flop?? Bc I’ve only seen people do it for Captain Marvel & Birds of Prey,” a Twitter user wrote.

“The way people celebrate that birds of prey had a low opening is sickening,” another person tweeted. “Cathy Yan and the cast really put care into this movie and have never once said ‘this movie is only for women, men bad.’ Anyways i hope the crew knows that many of us loved the movie and want to see more.”

Some men complained about ‘Birds of Prey’ before it opened

Before the movie even opened, some men complained about its lack of sex appeal from the trailers and marketing materials.

“You know why #BirdsOfPrey is going to bomb just like #CharliesAngels did? They’ve removed any sex appeal these characters had to appeal to a female ‘girl power’ audience instead of the core male comic book audience,” a Twitter user wrote. “They literally don’t know who they’re making this movie for.”

“That’s what happens when you have Margot Robbie and the feminist director wanting to stop the ‘male gaze,'” another one wrote on Twitter.

One person upset with movie’s premise wrote an op-ed titled “DC’s ‘Birds of Prey’ hates men, but wants their money – no wonder it’s bombing at the box office.”

“… the women in it are smarter, tougher and stronger than the men, except they have been stripped of their sex appeal in a convoluted attempt to be pro-feminist,” the op-ed says. “If equality is women making misandrist, hyper-violent, incoherently vapid and dreadful movies, then ‘Birds of Prey‘ is a smashing success for feminism. It is also an abysmal failure for cinema… and probably humanity. It deserves to fail.”

The movie achieved rave reviews

Before Birds of Prey, the DCEU only boasted a handful of positively reviewed movies. The rest ranged from mixed reviews to absolutely abysmal. Of the movies that received positive reviews, two centered on female characters and were directed by women.

To date, only Aquaman, Shazam!, Wonder Woman, and Birds of Prey have positive reviews. Meanwhile, Man of Steel, Justice League, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad all received mixed to negative reviews.

As of Feb. 10, Birds of Prey has an 80 percent critic score on Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus reading, “With a fresh perspective, some new friends, and loads of fast-paced action, Birds of Prey captures the colorfully anarchic spirit of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn.”

It also has an audience score of 83 percent. This makes it the third highest-rated movie from the DCEU on the website. Yet despite these reviews, it seems that some men who make up the general audience demographic have no interest in watching it.

“The fact that men are refusing to watch birds of prey because it’s an all women team and their clothes are not showing enough skin just frustrates me,” a Twitter user said. “They will only see a movie with a female lead if she is sexualized and that’s disgusting,”