'Birds of Prey' Grounded While Holdovers Thrive Over Oscar Weekend
Positive reviews and audience response wasn't enough to send Warner Bros.'s Birds of Prey flying too high this weekend. While the latest DC Comics adaptation was able to secure the weekend's #1 slot it fell well short of expectations. However, Oscar contender 1917 was one of three titles to see a single digit drop as audiences sought to see the film that is widely expected to take home tonight's Best Picture honors.

At the top of the box office is WB's Birds of Prey, finishing with an estimated $33.25 million from 4,236 theaters (fourth widest ever for an R-rated release), falling well short of industry expectations as well as the studio's anticipated $45 million start. Things looked good heading into the weekend with the film receiving a strong critical response -- 81% on RottenTomatoes and 60 on Metacritic -- which was then followed by an "B+" CinemaScore from opening day audiences and an 83% audience score on RottenTomatoes. However, it appears there just wasn't enough audience to push this one as high as most expected, though word of mouth may be able to keep it alive over the coming weeks if it proves to be more than just a niche film.

Warner Bros.
Opening weekend crowds for Birds of Prey were 51% female with 65% of the audience coming in aged 25 or older. The film scored best with younger audiences, of which gave the film an "A-" CinemaScore, which suggests the R-rating may have been a major reason the film struggled to take flight, especially considering its predecessor, Suicide Squad, was a PG-13 feature and debuted with $133 million. It will be interesting to see what WB does with next year's The Suicide Squad, which is currently expected to be R-rated. Will that now change?

Internationally, Birds of Prey debuted in 78 markets with an estimated $48 million. Leading the way was Mexico with an estimated $4.6 million launch followed by Russia ($4m), UK ($3.9m), Brazil ($2.8m), France ($2.7m), Australia ($2.7m), Indonesia ($2.4m), Korea ($1.9m), Germany ($1.8m), Taiwan ($1.5m), Italy ($1.4m) and Spain ($1.38m). Japan will be the final market to open on March 20.

Sony's Bad Boys for Life drops to second place after three straight weekends at #1. This weekend the film dropped -32% for an estimated $12 million three-day, pushing the domestic cume over $166 million as it enters its fourth week in release. Internationally, the film added another $15.8 million for an overseas gross totaling $170 million and a worldwide tally now reaching $336 million.

As mentioned in our lede, Universal's 1917 had a terrific hold as it entered the weekend as the front-runner for Oscar's Best Picture honors this evening. The film dipped just -5%, bringing in an estimated $9 million for a domestic cume that now stands at $132.5 million. Internationally, the film brought in over $15 million from Universal and Amblin markets currently in play, bringing the overseas total just shy of $155 million for a global performance now topping $287 million. The film launches in Japan, its final international market, next weekend.

Universal's Dolittle finished in fourth with an estimated $6.66 million, dipping just -12% as it kicks off its fourth weekend in release with a domestic cume just shy of $64 million. Internationally, the film opened in the UK and France this weekend, which helped generate nearly $19 million for the weekend, for an international cume that now stands at $94.7 million for a $158.7 million global cume. Key international markets yet to release include Brazil, Russia, Japan and China, the latter of which is yet to be dated.

Rounding out the top five is Sony's Jumanji: The Next Level, which brought in an estimated $5.5 million, dipping just -8% as it kicks off its ninth week in release with a domestic cume that now tops $298 million. Internationally, the film delivered an estimated $3.3 million this weekend from 58 markets still in play, taking the international cume to $470 million and the worldwide total to $768 million.

Finally, we once again feel it's worth mentioning Lionsgate's Knives Out, which fell just outside the top ten for the first time last weekend, but bounced right back this weekend, dipping just -9% and delivering an estimated $2.35 million three-day, pushing the film's domestic cume to $158.9 million. Could the bump be the result of the news just three days ago that Lionsgate is moving forward with a sequel? Overseas, the film added another $1.3 million for an international cume of $140.7 million and a worldwide cume to date of $299.6 million.

Next weekend will see a trio of new wide releases for Valentine's Day weekend including Universal's romance The Photograph, Sony's Blumhouse horror Fantasy Island, Searchlight's comedy remake Downhill and, of course, Paramount's videogame adaptation Sonic the Hedgehog, the latter of which is launching in 4,100 locations.

You can check out all of this weekend's estimated results right here and we'll be updating our charts with weekend actuals on Monday afternoon.

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