- After a less than stellar opening weekend, Birds of Prey will be renamed in order to boost its SEO quality.
- Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) will now be called Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey so that audiences can clearly tell it’s a Harley Quinn film when searching for it online.
- The new title is intended to only be used for its theatrical run.
- Compared to other DC films, it had a poor opening weekend, with some blaming the name, R-rating, and release date as potential reasons as to why.
- The film also received criticism from some for not featuring its cast in “sexy” enough attire.
Birds of Prey’s Name Change
After bringing in a disappointing opening box office haul on its opening weekend, Birds of Prey will be getting a search-friendly name change.
The Harley Quinn-centered film originally touted the lengthy title of Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). Now, movie theaters will list it simply as Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.
This comes after the Margot Robbie-led picture brought in $33 million domestically during its opening weekend, much lower than Warner Brothers’ projections of $45 million. A representative for Warner Bros. told The Verge that the name change is to specifically enhance “search expansion for ticket sites.”
The move is essentially aimed at making the name of the film more user and SEO-friendly for moviegoers looking to see the new Harley Quinn project by making it clear that the film is about the famous character. Now, rather than having her name buried at the end of a parenthetical, it’s the first thing potential audiences will see.
The change will likely not be permanent, though. Once the movie makes its way to DVD and streaming, it could still be called Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). As least for now, Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey is intended to last only as long as its theater run.
DC Box Office Hauls
In terms of Birds of Prey’s box office numbers, DC and Warner Bros. have reason to be disappointed. Even though it topped the weekend box office and brought in under $80 million worldwide, which is just five million shy of its budget, the bar is set high for films of this nature. Some pictures might be pleased with a $33 million domestic debut, however, superhero– or in this case, supervillain films– typically do better.
DC’s recent film Joker became the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time, making it past the billion-dollar benchmark by the end of its run. The Oscar-winning Joaquin Phoenix project also had a smaller budget than Birds of Prey and pulled in three times the money in the United States on its opening weekend. Other big movies like Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman ended up raking in over $100 million on their opening weekends.
Potential Factors for Low Box Office
This all leads to the larger question at hand: Why is Birds of Prey not getting the attention that DC and Warner Bros. were hoping for? From the critics’ side, the movie is getting a good amount of praise. On Rotten Tomatoes, it boasts an 80% rating with an audience score of 81%.
The issue of the name is one that Warner Bros. is already addressing. Box office analyst Jeff Book told Variety that “not naming [the film] ‘Harley Quinn’ was a huge misfire.”
“It was a niche comic-book movie,” Bock later added. “Warner Bros. keeps having to learn these lessons.”
Birds of Prey would not be the first comic book movie to deal with titling issues potentially impacting its box office haul. In its early marketing, Dark Phoenix rarely attached the X-Men brand to it in its title. Matched by poor reviews, the movie also brought in a lackluster amount of cash.
It is unlikely that this is the only factor standing in Harley Quinn’s way. The films R-rating does it no favors, as this isolates it from young girls who might be a fan of the anti-heroine. Still, Joker broke records with an R-rating, meaning DC likely still had high hopes.
What Birds of Prey did have to face was a February opening, which can be a dry month as far as box office earnings. Comic book movies, however, do have a good record of breaking that mold. Black Panther broke financial records with a February release. Logan and Deadpool, both of which also had the burden of an R-rating, were massive successes in the month.
Female-Led Comic Book Movies
Some have pointed to the general backlash female-led comic book movies usually face upon their release. This trend extends back to Wonder Woman in 2017 when mainly male fans were upset the film was, for certain showtimes, being screened to all-female audiences. When Captain Marvel came out in 2019, again mainly male fans were upset by feminist messaging used by Brie Larson leading to its release. Some even said they would boycott the movie because of it.
Both those movies did well, so to say their earnings were impacted would be hard. It is worth noting, though, because Birds of Prey is following suit and has gender-based criticism of its own. Some users believed the movie was not sexy enough for a Harley Quinn standalone film.
“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,” one Twitter user wrote in a now-viral tweet before the film’s release. “They literally don’t know who they’re making this movie for.”
The idea that the film is for a “core male comic book audience” is only partially true. According to Variety, in its opening weekend, 54% of viewers were male. So while the theaters were filled slightly more by men, it was too close to a 50/50 split to state that the audience was “core” male.
This comment received a lot of backlash online. Some argued that it degrades women to being worth nothing more than their looks, while others argued that the characters in the film did have appeal and were attractive.
One of Birds of Prey’s producers, Sue Kroll ended up responding to this.
“I read that and I thought, ‘Oh my God. That’s so asinine’” she said.
“When you look at the comics, you see these women in there, it’s always very tight clothing, short shorts, boobs pushed up. It’s always very graphic in that way. And we were having none of that,” she added. “But I think they all look beautiful and sexy, and if you look at [Black Canary, played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell] and her costumes, she’s wearing a bustier [bust-ear] but of a different kind. That’s not sexy? She’s not sexy in the club? You bet she is. She’s gorgeous. That’s nuts.”
As was the case with Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman, it’s hard to tell if this kind of backlash affected Birds of Prey in terms of revenue. Still, it does show that female-led comic films usually do have a battle to fight every time they come out.
Because of these narratives around it, many are praising Birds of Prey online in hopes that people will see it and save it from its current box office situation.
As the movie enters the weekend under the Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey title, it will face new competition. The weekend encompasses both President’s Day and Valentine’s Day, which could help fill theaters. But movies like Sonic the Hedgehog, The Photograph, Downhill, and Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island will also be opening, meaning more new films could knock it from the top box office spot.
See what others are saying: (Variety) (The Verge) (Entertainment Weekly)
PewDiePie Opens Up About Past Drinking Problem
To escape the stress of his online controversies, the YouTuber said he turned to alcohol, a strategy he described as “a recipe for disaster.”
PewDiePie Addressed Past Alcohol Issues
YouTuber PewDiePie uploaded a video Wednesday revealing that he previously dealt with a drinking problem.
PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, said that around 2017 and 2018, he used to drink whiskey every single day. When he tried to quit for health reasons, he struggled, which made him realize how attached he was to the substance.
“That’s when I realized, oh shit, maybe I do have a problem,” he explained. “And that’s why I quit drinking for a few months because I thought you know, I need to show I’m the one in control.”
After quitting the habit for a period of time, he said he convinced himself that it would be okay to re-introduce drinking back into his life. Kjellberg claimed the problem was at its worst when he was struggling with a handful of online controversies, though he did not specify which ones. Kjellberg has faced backlash numerous times throughout his career, including for using racist and anti-Semitic language.
“Drinking to sort of escape emotions is a recipe for disaster,” he said.
PewDiePie Says YouTube Addiction Fueled His Alcohol Addiction
“I was still not just addicted to escaping these emotions by drinking, but I think I was also addicted to YouTube, and I was so scared of losing YouTube through all these controversies that I was fueling one addiction out of my fear of losing another one,” Kjellberg continued.
The YouTuber explained that he was “nowhere near” the point where alcohol could have cost him his job or loved ones and he does not want to “co-opt all that pain” that many people endure. Still, he said he had reached a point where he had to rethink his relationship with drinking and ultimately decided the best thing to do was quit.
“It was really rough, especially because I was having a lot of withdrawals from it,” Kjellberg said. “It took me a long time to be able to sleep properly again, but I did manage it and I was done. And I haven’t touched it since, which I’m really proud about.”
Kjellberg admitted that he used to be embarrassed by the subject, which is why he waited so long to publicly discuss it. For a period of time, he also felt he had merely replaced one addiction with another because he began using nicotine patches. He said he has now quit nicotine twice and feels freer without the substance.
“That kind of felt like almost losing a friend. I’m not even exaggerating,” he confessed about the process of quitting nicotine. “It’s like something that you used to rely on but will no longer be there.”
Kjellberg discussed the thoughts many notable philosophers have had on vices and addiction and claimed their beliefs helped guide his choices. Now, he hopes others dealing with similar issues might hear his story and prompt change within their own lives.
“I’m hoping that talking about it might lead people to open their eyes about their own actions and what they’re also doing,” he explained. “And it’s a tough thing to admit.”
Fellow creators like Anthony Padilla and Jacksepticeye commented on the video to thank Kjellberg for sharing his experience.
“[This] will help so many people and gives such a better look at how strong you are,” Padilla wrote. “Love you dude.”
See what others are saying: (Dexerto)
Billie Eilish Advocates for Climate Action Ahead of U.N. COP26 Summit
The singer was joined by “The Office” actor Rainn Wilson and other big-name celebrities and activists in a pitch for world leaders to make substantial progress at the conference.
Billie Eilish Calls for Climate Action
Singer Billie Eilish partnered Tuesday with the environmental group Arctic Basecamp at the University of Exeter to call for meaningful climate action ahead of the U.N. COP26 climate conference.
“This year our leaders are deciding the global actions required on the environment climate emergency in a critical decade for our planet,” Eilish said in a video. “We must stand together and speak up to save our planet, not just for us, but for our future generations. And we need urgent, urgent action now.”
Eilish is no stranger to advocating for solutions to climate change. In September, the “Happier Than Ever” singer urged Congress to pass climate legislation as part of the #CodeRedClimate campaign. For her latest pitch with Arctic Basecamp, she was joined by other big names, including “The Office” actor Rainn Wilson, explorer Levison Wood, climate activist Daze Aghaji, and wildlife advocate Robert Irwin, who is the son of the late Steve Irwin.
“Courage. That’s what our world’s leaders need more than anything,” Wilson said in the video message. “The decisions that they make about the climate crisis in the next decade are the most important decisions in our planet’s history.”
What is COP26?
Arctic Basecamp works with scientists and other high-profile organizations all over the world to call attention to climate issues and encourage effective solutions. It was founded by Gail Whiteman, a professor at the University of Exeter, who released a statement thanking the slew of stars and activists for their involvement in the COP26 initiative.
“It is amazing to be working with such brave people that not only are using their voice but are using their voice for good,” she said. “This is a crisis and the Arctic is sounding the alarm. It is time that world leaders come together to create real change that ensures a safe future for humanity.”
COP26 will kick off in Glasgow on Oct. 31 and run through Nov. 12. Global leaders will discuss several actions regarding the environment, including pacts like the Paris Agreement and U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. They will also focus on a series of goals, including achieving global net-zero emissions by mid-century and protecting ecosystems, along with other infrastructure threatened by climate change.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pitched the event as a key moment for the world to come together and tackle climate change. This week, he described it as “our best chance to make the changes we need to protect our planet for our children and grandchildren.”
See what others are saying: (Billboard) (CNN) (The Independent)
Dave Chappelle Says He’s Willing To Meet With Trans Community Under Certain Conditions
After being criticized for transphobic comments, the comedian said he would give an audience to the transgender community even though he is “confused” about what they would be discussing.
Dave Chappelle Addresses Netflix Employees
Comedian Dave Chappelle responded on Monday to the recent backlash he has faced for making transphobic remarks in his new Netflix stand-up special “The Closer.”
Over the past several weeks, many employees at Netflix have protested against Chappelle’s program and numerous LGBTQ+ rights groups have condemned his comments. Netflix employees staged a walkout last week to call out “The Closer” and advocate for more trans and nonbinary employees to be included at the company.
Some reports have alleged that Chappelle denied the opportunity to speak with the trans community and allies at Netflix. In a new video addressing the controversy, Chappelle refuted that allegation.
“It’s been said in the press that I was invited to speak to the transgender employees of Netflix and I refused. That is not true,” he said “If they had invited me, I would have accepted it, although I am confused about what we would be speaking about.“
“I said what I said, and boy, I heard what you said. My God, how could I not?” he continued. “You said you want a safe working environment at Netflix. It seems like I’m the only one who can’t go to the office.”
Chappelle Says He Will Meet With Trans Community
Chappelle added that he would be willing to meet with the trans community but is not “bending to anybody’s demands.”
“I have some conditions. First of all, you cannot come if you have not watched my special from beginning to end,” Chappelle explained. “You must come to a place of my choosing at a time of my choosing, and thirdly, you must admit that Hannah Gadsby is not funny.”
Gadsby is a comedian best known for her Netflix special “Nanette.” While defending Chappelle, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos name-dropped Gadsby and “Nanette” as examples of the service’s offerings that give voice to marginalized communities. Gadsby shot back at the executive, saying she did not want him to “drag [her] name into [his] mess.”
“Now I have to deal with even more of the hate and anger that Dave Chappelle’s fans like to unleash on me every time Dave gets 20 million dollars to process his emotionally stunted partial world view,” Gadsby wrote on Instagram. “Fuck you and your amoral algorithm cult.”
During “The Closer,” Chappelle called himself “team TERF” while discussing author J.K. Rowling being “canceled” after making a series of transphobic comments herself. He said he agreed with Rowling and added that “gender is a fact.” He later made a slew of other comments, including a joke about Caitlyn Jenner and remarks comparing the genitalia of transgender women to Beyond and Impossible meat.
As outrage poured in, Sarandos released a series of statements in support of Chappelle and his artistic freedom. During his video, Chappelle thanked Sarandos, claiming that he has lost a series of opportunities amid the controversy. Chappelle recently completed a documentary that he says was going to screen at film festivals, but he is allegedly no longer welcome at those events.
“When this controversy came out about ‘The Closer,’ they began disinviting me from these film festivals, and now, today, not a film company, not a movie studio, not a film festival, nobody will touch this film,” Chapelled claimed. “Thank God for Ted Sarandos and Netflix, he’s the only one that didn’t cancel me yet.”
Chappelle later announced that he will be taking his documentary on tour to cities like San Francisco, New York, Atlanta, and Toronto.