Wednesday, February 12, 2020

What's In A Name?

Hey, didja see the new Birds Of Prey movie? No? Well, don't feel bad neither did anyone else!

After a disastrous opening weekend, in which the film grossed an embarrassing $38 million against its $84 million budget, Warner Bros. executives are scrambling to try and explain the failure of the expensive albatross hanging from their collective necks.

Of course many are placing the blame firmly on today's go-to scapegoat, the infamous Straight White Male. According to some Warner Execs, men just can't stomach the idea of seeing a film featuring strong female characters. Never mind that the movie was clearly marketed to women, which basically told anyone with two X chromosomes to say away it's the fault of men.

Other execs blamed the film's R-rating, which may have prevented a sizable portion of the audience from seeing the film.

Some even blamed the Oscar telecast for siphoning away the audience (which seems unlikely, since this year's ceremony pulled in the lowest ratings in the award show's history.

These excuses may have scared a few customers away, but the studios completely missing the most obvious problem with the filmthe general public has never heard of the Birds Of Prey and has no idea who the hell they are!

Chances are most audiences have at least a passing familiarity with Harley Quinn, as she was one of the few memorable parts of the execrable Suicide Squad movie from a few years back. There's a ton of merch featuring the character as well. Heck, they're even selling a Harley Quinn Build-A-Bear! No, really!

Knowing that, you'd think the Warner Marketing Dept. would center their advertising around Harley, right? Wrong!

Just look at the official title of the movie on the poster— Birds Of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn). No, seriously— that's the actual title! Including the bit in parenthesis. Of course no one's going to fit all that on a movie marquee, and they even bury the second part of the title on the poster, so that all most audiences will ever see is Birds Of Prey.

And since as I said, no one knows who the hell that is... audiences stayed away in droves.

Apparently the Warner Execs must have finally figured this out for themselves, now that the horse has already escaped from the barn. Yesterday they announced they were changing the title of the movie (!) to the less wordy and somewhat unambiguous Harley Quinn: Birds Of Prey.

Yep! You read right! They're changing the title of the moviewhile it's still in theaters! Apparently the studio believes people didn't go see the movie because they didn't realize it was less about the Birds and all about Harley. And once they see that spiffy new title, there won't be an empty seat in the house this coming weekend!

As near as I can tell, this is the first time in Hollywood history that a movie's had its title changed while it's still playing. Tom Cruise's scifi epic Edge Of Tomorrow was changed to Live, Die, Repeat, but that didn't happen until it came out on home video.

Do I think this name change will help? Of course not! It's still the same awful-looking movie! Renaming a turd won't make it stop stinking.

Of course if the studio absolutely had to change the name of the movie, they missed the most obvious and apropos title...

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