As strange as it may seem, it's been seven whole months since a comic book super hero movie has graced our screens (no, I'm not counting Joker). How have we survived this long without comic mayhem and day-glo colored action? Only the strongest among us have endured to reach this hallow-ed day, when comics have one day come to bless us again.
Weekend Forecast for February 7-9, 2020
By Reagen Sulewski
February 6, 2020
Say what you will about Suicide Squad (and there is plenty to say), but it did have a couple of bright spots. DC's trainwreck of a villain film was the movie that launched a thousand cosplays, with Margot Robbie's pitch perfect version of Harley Quinn, the Joker's psychotic henchwoman that's half pin-up, half MMA fighter (There was also Jay Hernandez as Killer Croc, but he also had the misfortune to deliver a performance full of pathos unrecognizable behind 10 pounds of makeup). While the film itself proved to be noisy garbage that ruined DC's '10s concept for The Joker and had to be rebooted, Harley Quinn was a keeper, and get her own spin off with this weekend's Birds of Prey.
Carrying the unwieldy subtitle of And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, there's little question whose movie this is, despite the inclusion of Black Canary, The Huntress and a couple of other characters from DC lore, to do battle with Black Mask (Ewan McGregor), who is bent on killing them all for, you know, supervillain reasons. Is it important? Not really. You'll get over it, it's DC.
All this is taking place within the backdrop of Harley getting over her treatment at the hands of The Joker in Suicide Squad - really, it's the most violent break-up movie ever. A wild phantasmagoric trip through the DSM-IV, it offers up a truly female-centric comic film without pounding people over the head with it. Loaded with action choreographed by John Wick's Chad Stahelski, it's embracing the new, fun DC Extended Universe, perhaps learning from its two successes so far, Wonder Woman and Aquaman (honorable mention: Shazam), that humor is indeed a thing that people want from their comic book movies. The rather dire and dreary Batman v Superman and Justice League collapsed under the weight of their self-importance, which is very much not a worry here, as it moves dangerously close to Schumacherian-excess.
Early looks weren't strong for the film, but reviews have come in well for it, and it seems to be bucking some of the bad I'm Mad on the Internet attacks that anything that's even remotely feminist faces these days. As popular as Harley Quinn is among comic nerds though, it's not a character that has a huge sway among the norms and for the uninitiated, there's some natural confusion about what this film would even be. The DCEU has a lot of digging up to do, and films like this may be an marker on the path to getting there.
Harley Quinn's debut in Suicide Squad helped lift it to a rather eye-popping $133 million debut and a rather unwarranted $325 million domestic. Expectations are significantly lowered since then, and without a big name hero in the title, this film will sit in the middle tier. It's more marketable than Shazam, which played far too kiddie, but doesn't quite have the market hit of Deadpool. Overall, this should do respectably well at around $70 million this weekend.
Our returning films were led by Bad Boys For Life once again, which crossed $150 million midweek and became the highest grossing film in the franchise -though cold comfort, given the huge span of time for all of these films. A child born at the release of the first film is busy paying back its student loans now. It should fall to around $9 million, with $200 million reasonably in sight for its final total.
Oscar weekend sees the favorite for Best Picture, 1917, as almost the only contending film with any box office impact. The "one shot" WWI film is sitting with around $125 million domestic, though this is an unusually lucrative group of nominees, with five at over $100 million, two Netflix films, and even the two indie and foreign nominees at $30 million or so. The boost to fortunes from Oscar wins isn't what it used to be, but most of these films have already secured their rewards, either from viability ahead of time, or earning off their nominations. For this weekend, 1917 should drop to about $7 million. Decidely not an Oscar film is Dolittle, which has floundered as one of the big attempted tent pole pictures of 2020 so far. This looks to top out at $75 million or so, with $5 million this weekend.