One of the few good things about not reporting box office numbers at the moment is that we don’t have to see how audiences around America ignore the critically acclaimed, underseen fare in favor of the bad popcorn flick of the month. But it turns out that, even with movie theaters closed around the country, things don’t change much.
Last week, both Bloodshot and Birds of Prey, two comic book movies with wildly different critical receptions, hit digital platforms early amid coronavirus COVID-19 concerns. But despite the abysmal critical reception to Bloodshot which sits at 29% on Rotten Tomatoes, and favorable reviews of Birds of Prey 78% on Rotten Tomatoes, Bloodshot came out on top in video-on-demand sales.
Sony’s Bloodshot and Warner Bros.’ Birds of Prey were both made available for purchase on digital platforms on March 24, a big day of digital releases of theatrical films. It was an early digital release for the films, both of which had only recently debuted in theaters — Bloodshot on March 13 and Birds of Prey on February 7.
Bloodshot had seen low box office returns in the weekend it hit theaters, mostly owing to the fact that it was one of the last films to hit theaters before mass coronavirus-affected closures and shutdowns. But you’d hope that audiences were also staying away from the Vin Diesel-starring dud, which /Film reviewer Chris Evangelista called “a big snooze.” Meanwhile, Birds of Prey was considered a box office disappointment for Warner Bros. despite the film’s positive reviews over Cathy Yan’s stylish direction and star Margot Robbie’s gonzo performance, but some of us held out hope that more audiences would “discover” the film once it hit VOD. Unfortunately, it seems more people sought out Bloodshot, which was No. 3 on the list of top 10 best-selling digital releases on FandangoNOW, Fandango’s digital platform. Birds of Prey fell just behind it at No. 4.
However, great movies like The Invisible Man and Onward both did take the top spots, so there’s hope yet. But it seems in the time of self-quarantine, even people bored out of their minds would rather watch Vin Diesel sleepily punch people than watch the candy-colored fun time that is Birds of Prey.
Here is Fandango’s full list of 10 top VOD purchases this week:
The Invisible Man Universal – $19.99 Onward Disney – $19.99 Bloodshot Sony – $19.99 Birds of PreyWarner Bros. – $19.99 Jumanji: The Next Level Sony – $4.99 1917 Universal – $5.99 I Still Believe Lionsgate – $19.99 The Way Back Warner Bros. – $19.99 Dolittle Universal – $19.99 The Hunt Universal – $19.99
Birds of Prey director Cathy Yan already has ideas for a sequel. Although a direct Birds of Prey follow-up has not yet officially been confirmed, Yan has already started plotting out where she would take Harley Quinn on her next adventures — and with whom. And that character will be very familiar to longtime fans of Harley Quinn in both her animated and comic book forms.
In an interview with The Wrap, Cathy Yan said that if she were to direct a Birds of Prey sequel, she would focus on the fan-favorite dynamic of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy:
“I would love to see Poison Ivy and I would certainly love to see the relationship between Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy.”
A Harley and Poison Ivy romance — or at least a criminal team-up — seems to be on everyone’s minds, as Margot Robbie also recently said that she has also been pushing for the eco-friendly supervillain to appear alongside her Harley Quinn. “One [character] been pushing for as long as I’ve been pushing for this film is Poison Ivy,” Robbie told /Film. “I mean, there’s two versions of that, you know, with some comics, it’s friendship, some comics, it’s romantic. Either way, I want to explore that because I just I love their relationship so much in the comics.”
Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy have long been paired together, first becoming partners in crime in Batman: The Animated Series during one of Harley’s breaks with the Joker. Their gleeful chemistry and Thelma and Louise-inspired dynamic in the animated series became so popular that their friendship was soon integrated into the comics. Harley and Ivy would appear as allies and maybe more in the comics and more animated shows, but their romantic relationship only became canon recently, becoming official in 2015. The second season of DC Universe’s animated Harley Quinn series, in which Poison Ivy is a recurring character and Harley’s sardonic best friend, will see Ivy finally become Harley’s romantic partner.
A Birds of Prey sequel is still unconfirmed, but Yan doesn’t dismiss the possibility, despite the film’s somewhat disappointing box office returns. “I think people aren’t ready to let go of Harley Quinn quite yet and you know, Margot I don’t think is ready to let go of Harley Quinn yet either,” she said.