Birds of Prey’s Cathy Yan opens up on box office disappointment
Despite sitting at the third-highest reviewed entry into the DC Extended Universe, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) performed well under expectations at the box office, already struggling to make a big dent in its roughly $100 million budget before theaters began shutting down. Now, director Cathy Yan has opened up about the lackluster opening and how she views it coming from the indie film scene.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Yan notes she’s aware of the “high expectations” that Warner Bros, and everyone else, had for the film but that because it was a “female-led movie,” there were higher expectations for the film to do well and that because it didn’t perform, grossing just over $201.9 million on its $89-100 million production budget, it “proved that we weren’t ready for this yet.”
“That was an extra burden that, as a woman-of-color director, I already had on me anyway,” Yan described. “So, yes, I think there were certainly different ways you could interpret the success or lack of success of the movie, and everyone has a right to do that. But, I definitely do feel that everyone was pretty quick to jump on a certain angle.”
Yan felt that the film helped a lot of people, “especially a lot of women and younger people,” fell as though their voices were being “represented for the first time on the big screen” and that many of the choices made on the film, including the casting and the costume designs, were “somewhat deliberate.”
“What was definitely beyond expectations was some of the positive stuff, such as the real global reach of the film and getting really wonderful notes from people around the world who felt like they were seen for the first time in a movie like this,” Yan said. “They felt like they could identify with the characters on screen, even though they were in a heightened world — a world with stocked grocery stores. (Laughs.)”
Margot Robbie reprises her Suicide Squad role of Harley Quinn in the film, which also stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary, Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain, Ewan McGregor as the villain Black Mask, Chris Messina as Victor Zsasz and Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya. Ali Wong (Fresh Off the Boat), Robert Catrini (American Crime Story), Steven Williams (IT) and Derek Wilson (Preacher) round out the ensemble.
Cathy Yan (Dead Pigs) directed the spin-off, making her the first female Asian director to helm a superhero film. The script was penned by Christina Hodson (Bumblebee).
In the DC Comics, the Birds of Prey are a mostly female superhero team that has included Oracle/Batgirl, Black Canary, Huntress, Catwoman, Hawkgirl, Power Girl, Poison Ivy, Vixen, and Katana, who was played by Karen Fukuhara in Suicide Squad. A short-lived live-action TV series titled Birds of Prey aired on The WB from 2002-to-2003 for 13 episodes, starring Ashley Scott as Huntress, Dina Meyer as Barbara Gordon/Oracle, Ian Abercrombie as Alfred Pennyworth and Mia Sara as Harley Quinn.
Warner Bros. Pictures Presents a LuckyChap Entertainment Production, a Clubhouse Pictures Production, a Kroll & Co. Entertainment Production, the film had its theatrical release on February 7 and is set to hit shelves on 4K UHD and Blu-ray on May 12!
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