Birds Of Prey Explained: What The End Means And What’s Next For Harley Quinn

By Brent McKnight and Staff | 1 month ago

We’ve gotten our first solo adventure from a member of the Suicide Squad ensemble: standout Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie in Birds of Prey.

Actually when they released it it was called Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, which is a mouthful of a title, and it’s a fun, energetic romp with a ton of fantastic performances and a maniac gleam in its eye. You should read my review.

Birds Of Prey Streaming

Birds of Prey explained

With audiences locked in their homes under Coronavirus quarantine, Warner Bros. dropped Birds of Prey on streaming early. They likely expected to be heralded as heroes for giving content starved shut-ins premium content earlier than expected. Instead, at first they couldn’t get anyone to watch it there either.

Now though, Warner Bros. has hit on the perfect formula. They’re getting people to watch Bird of Prey by dropping the price. Originally, like all first run movies on streaming platforms, Birds of Prey was available to view for $19.99. Now they’d slashed the price to $5.99. It worked. This week Birds of Prey was the #1 streaming rental, beating Knives Out at #2. Knives Out, by the way, still costs $19.99 like most other successful streaming titles.

Originally when it debuted on streaming at a price of $19.99 Birds of Prey was being totally outperformed by the critically panned Vin Diesel movie Bloodshot, when streaming views are measured.

Bloodshot and Birds of Prey hit streaming at the same time and it seems viewers are choosing to watch Bloodshot instead. Bloodshot is #3 on the streaming charts at FandangoNow while Birds of Prey only managed #4.

Birds of Prey Box Office

When Birds of Prey first underperformed at the Box Office, Warner Bros. took action. In a desperate bid to get more people to see the movie, Warner Bros. pictures changed the name from Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Whatever to Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey, while it was still in theaters. That didn’t work. The movie’s box office woes continued. So now they’re trying a different tactic to save it in other countries.

We’ve learned that for the movie’s release in Japan, Warner Bros. is editing out objectionable content to get it down from an R-rating to the country’s equivalent of a PG-12 rating. This suggests that either they think the rating was the problem, or they just are totally out of other ideas and figured what the heck.

Birds of Prey’s box office woes have continued week after week. After a bad opening at only $33 million, in its second week the movie was trounced by Sonic the Hedgehog which came in strong earning more than $55 million. Now it seems theater owners are giving up on it.

In its third week of release Birds of Prey set this dismal record…

It’s worth noting that all the movies it beat out for the fail-record also made a lot more money than it did in their first two weeks. So it makes sense that Harley Quinn’s Birds of Prey would also lose theaters faster than any of those movies did.

At the current rate Birds of Prey is shedding theaters, you can expect it to be gone from first run theaters entirely in short order. These things tend only to accelerate in subsequent weeks.

Online there are a lot of pundits who liked the movie (so did we) making excuses for the film’s poor performance. But any way you slice it Birds of Prey is the biggest failure in the DC universe so far. And that’s saying a lot. The DC Cinematic Universe is not the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they’ve released a lot of epic fails. Put in that context, I’m not sure all the excuse-making for Birds of Prey is actually warranted.

Yes Birds of Prey is good, but yes it also failed hard. So let’s start talking about why it failed instead of trying to invent excuses to make it seem like it didn’t. It seems clear that the finger should be pointed at the movie’s marketing, which focused on pushing a girl power narrative. That tactic has been taken recently with other notorious flops. So, if there’s a lesson to learn here it’s probably this: When it comes to marketing, whether you like the ideology behind it or not, girl power doesn’t work.

The Name Change

Birds of Prey is now officially, called Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey. Presumably Warner Bros. wasn’t sure people understood that this movie was mostly about Harley Quinn (even though she’s the only thing on most of the posters). They must have believed that if people see Harley’s name when they walk up to a movie theater, they are more likely to buy a ticket. It didn’t work, but Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey ended up on all marquees in the movie’s week two.

When asked why they changed the title Warner Bros. told The Verge that the name change is part of a “search expansion for ticket sites” to make it easier for people to find the movie. Apparently they think people want to see it, but can’t find it to see it, instead of the truth being that actually no one cares about seeing it. The studio rep then added that they believe adding Harley Quinn’s name to the title gives moviegoers a better idea of what Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey is about.

Birds Of Prey Fans Attack Sonic

We thought Birds of Prey was pretty good and so did a lot of the other people who saw it. Unfortunately, the movie’s box office performance has been poor and heading into its second week in theaters, people are afraid no one is going to support it. So some have decided to start attacking Sonic the Hedgehog.

The Sonic the Hedgehog movie opened February 14th and Birds of Prey fans (or maybe even bots paid for by the studio) decided to start spreading lies about Sonic, in the hopes that people will see Birds of Prey instead of Sonic. Here’s the proof…

It’s a ridiculous tactic and of course none of it is true. It’s also worth noting that while Birds of Prey is good, we thought Sonic the Hedgehog was pretty OK too in our review. Don’t fall for the disinformation campaign.

In the meantime, let’s talk more about the movie Birds of Prey as it is. How does it Bird of Prey end and what does that mean for the characters moving forward? Read on…

Heads up, we’re getting into SPOILER territory here. So, if you haven’t seen Birds of Prey and don’t want to know the ending, carefully consider reading beyond this point.

The bulk of Birds of Prey essentially introduces the members of the titular team and brings them together. That group consists of Harley, Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), and Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco).

Cass has a diamond that’s much more valuable than just the stone, and as a result, Black Mask, AKA Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor) and his henchman Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina) hunt her down. Harley is there to either turn the young woman over or protect her, she’s not 100% sure which herself. Montoya wants to arrest Black Mask and save Cass. Huntress only cares about killing Zsasz for his role in the death of her own family. And Canary has her own precarious situation to work out.

Birds of Prey’s ending culminates in a climactic battle at an abandoned funhouse, which, considering the players, is about as appropriate a place for such a standoff as exists. In the fracas—itself a sprawling, bouncy action sequence that culminates in a badass car chase—Zsasz dies. Probably anyway, a crossbow bolt to the throat usually does that, but it’s not super explicit. Black Mask meets his end thanks to a grenade down the pants and his fate is rather clear. He went boom.

Afterwards, the five women talk about the future over tacos and mid-morning margaritas, as one does after surviving an epic battle. However, before things get too chummy, Harley and Cass run off and leave the other three.

As Harley tells us in an ending voice over: Montoya, Canary, and Huntress form a vigilante group, the Birds of Prey. They do typical vigilante stuff, being heroic and all. Next time we see Harley and Cass, they’re tooling around in Day-Glo convertible, Harley’s pet hyena Bruce in the back, looking like they’ve been living the good life from hocking the diamond.

Does The Birds Of Prey Ending Have An After Credits Scene?

By this point, we’ve come to expect comic book movies, no matter the company behind the production, to have a post-credits scene. While the Birds of Prey ending does have one, it’s different than what we’re used to.

In many cases, studios use these moments to set up further adventures of the characters or tease a future movie. Birds of Prey, on the other hand, takes the opportunity to make a joke.

After the credits, the screen goes black, we hear Harley’s voice, and she says she’s going to drop a secret about the Batman. She says, “Batman f…” and then it cuts off before she reveals anything. As we said, more of a gag than anything, though it does fit in well with Harley’s sense of humor.

That Birds of Prey ending doesn’t do much or offer anything in the way of information. What it does accomplish is to remind us that this all takes place in the same universe as Batman and the rest of the DC characters. Unlike so many other comic book movies, outside of a few obvious elements, like talk of the Joker, this operates largely on its own. We’re not reminded every other scene that other superheroes are out there doing their thing. Instead, the film chooses to focus on its own characters not building a spiderweb of connections to others. And it’s stronger for that.

It seems like a stretch or a leap to make the connection that Harley Quinn may have a future encounter with Batman, though he factors into Suicide Squad a bit. Still, this nods to the larger universe and reminds us of that connection, which is easy to forget otherwise.

What’s Next For Harley Quinn And The Birds Of Prey?

The Birds of Prey ending is pretty self-explanatory, so the biggest question for all parties is, what’s next?

Unfortunately Birds of Prey failed and failed hard at the box office, recording the worst opening of any DC Comics superhero movie so far. In the wake of that failure word is that Warner Bros. Studios is already discussing diminishing Harley Quinn’s role in the future of the DC Universe.

Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn was expected be the lead in The Suicide Squad, since she just had a solo movie (sort of) in Birds of Prey and she’s easily the breakout character from the original Suicide Squad movie. But maybe not.

DC had been hoping the draw of the character and of Margot Robbie would earn Birds of Prey at least a $55 million opening stateside but instead they barely got to $33 million. The movie will still make a profit thanks to international box office, but then almost everything Hollywood produces is able to make a profit thanks to international box office. For Warner Bros. Birds of Prey’s meager box office take may not enough to justify continuing on a path that has given the studio its least successful movie to date.

Harley Quinn was supposed to have a biggest, busiest future after the Birds of Prey ending. Black Mask and Zsasz are dead(ish), but that’s only one threat neutralized. As Birds of Prey shows, she’s made plenty of other enemies along the way, many of whom have a bone to pick with the therapist-turned-outlaw. One of these looms larger than all the others, however.

Though she publicly breaks up with him by blowing up the ACE Chemicals plant, Joker is still very much alive and out there. She’s was supposed to have to deal with that eventually, and DC already announced a Joker/Harley Quinn movie that was supposed to happen. It’s likely there are some suits over at Warner Bros right now considering cancelling it.

DC also had a Gotham City Sirens movie in the works. Announced shortly after Suicide Squad, it would have seen Harley team up with fellow female outlaws Catwoman and Poison Ivy. That’s reportedly already on hold, but Robbie has said she’d like to see Harley team up with Poison Ivy, so the door might still be open.

That said, the Birds of Prey now exist in the DC universe. That’s a key. The movie left them well on their way to becoming a force to be reckoned with. With no shortage of baddies on the streets of Gotham, they’re sure to have a full dance card, and it would be easy to have them pop up down the road in the laundry list of connected films in the works. But given the box officee I would not expect to see more from Renee Montoya, Huntress, and Black Canary.

Cassandra Cain is a bit of a different question. In the comics, Bruce Wayne takes her under his wing, and she becomes Batgirl—she’s also had a number of other aliases. This tinkers with the formula somewhat. Instead of being Batman’s protégé, she now studies under the tutelage of Harley Quinn, a different education for sure. At least for the time being. It will be interesting to see how that develops. Will she become Batgirl or one of her other characters, does she ever hook up with Batman, or will she take a different path in this continuity? We’ll have to wait and see if WB does anything with it.

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