‘Birds of Prey’ Fans React to Kevin Smith’s Comments About the DC Film’s R Rating

Director Kevin Smith is well known for a handful of cult-hit films. He’s also recognized as something of a connoisseur when it comes to the superhero genre, especially as it concerns the DC Extended Universe. However, his recent comments about Birds of Prey have come under fire. Here’s what he said, and how others responded.

‘Birds of Prey’ came to theaters in February 2020

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The original title of the film was Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). The movie was first announced in 2016, with Suicide Squad star Margot Robbie signing on to play the titular character once more. Cathy Yan directed based on a script penned by Christina Hodson (Bumblebee).

Birds of Prey premiered internationally in January 2020, followed by a February 7 release in the U.S. Robbie received positive recognition for her renewed take on Harley Quinn, as did her co-stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, and Rosie Perez, with whom her character teamed up to fight alongside.

The film was quickly released for home viewing

The DC flick quickly earned numerous differing opinions from all corners of the internet. Though the performances were, for the most part, universally praised, the script was criticized by some. And not everyone was a fan of the visual style, which greatly deviated from other DC entries.

Birds of Prey (or, as it was rebranded, Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey) had not yet broken even when it was struck by some bad luck. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced movie theaters worldwide to shut down. The film was then released early for digital purchase on March 24, 2020.

Kevin Smith said ‘Birds of Prey’ should have been rated PG-13

Kevin Smith speaks during 2019 Comic-Con International on July 20, 2019 in San Diego, California.
Kevin Smith speaks during 2019 Comic-Con International on July 20, 2019 in San Diego, California. | Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Now, in an interview with Variety published on April 14, 2020, Smith is speaking to what he feels went wrong with Birds of Prey‘s release. Calling the film “really wonderful,” he said its performance suffered from receiving an R rating from the MPAA.

“If you dropped it to a PG-13 [rating], I think you would’ve hit your core. It’s an aspirational movie, right? It’s about ladies getting together, girl power. And I would imagine a bunch of tween girls would have really enjoyed the hell out of that,” said Smith.

Fans react to Smith’s comments

Smith, for his part, wasn’t really telling others to take his advice. But some criticized him perpetuating the idea that teenage girls wouldn’t go to see the movie with its current rating. “I don’t want any man’s opinion on Birds of Prey, its core audience, or tween girls.” tweeted SYFY Fangrrls associate editor Courtney Enlow, adding, “Girls and women don’t need their entertainment sanitized for their delicate sensibilities.”

Writer April Wolfe agreed, tweeting, “I… have so much to say about this that I am not going to say.” Vulture’s Jordan Crucchiola replied, tweeting, “Besides ANYTHING ELSE, what is this thing where people assume teens don’t see rated R movie[s]? I saw a lot of rated R movies in theaters when I was younger! Parents took us and bought us tickets! Teens see these movies ALL THE TIME.” Perhaps Smith will reconsider his perspective if he reads these reactions.