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Birds of Prey, like several other theatrical releases recently, hit homes early just a few short weeks ago. Like some of these other releases that went straight from theaters into homes, the price tag was a steep $19.99 for the Digital release to start. Now Warner Bros. has dropped the cost and made it a rental, making it way more appealing to viewers.
In fact, when Birds of Prey first hit Digital and OnDemand it actually only appeared as the #2 title, despite being a seemingly big release. For the week following, the movie still appeared in the Top 10 of all Digital titles, at least on iTunes, but it hadn’t managed the magical #1.
Now, the price change has changed all that. After a short time at $19.99, Birds of Prey has swapped out its Digital cost for a rental cost of $5.99. Some other titles have also attempted this in recent months, with Universal titles like Cats for example going from a $19.99 VOD cost to a $5.99 rental cost after a few weeks.
As of this week, Birds of Prey is at #1 followed by Knives Out in the #2 slot. It took a price decrease to hit that slot, and it makes me wonder if people will shell out for the higher price for Trolls World Tour this weekend when it also hits VOD or if people will wait around until the movie is a cheaper rental on Digital platforms. It’ll be interesting to see how that whole thing plays out.
Right now, we’re kind of in unprecedented times with these VOD releases. In the past there has been a roughly 3-month or 90-day window between when movies leave theaters and start being made available in homes.
With theaters shut down, the studios have been trying various tactics with movies that had been in theaters previously. Movies that hadn’t fully wrapped their runs like Sonic: The Hedgehog or The Way Back or Onward were made available on VOD earlier than normal as the studios try to make the films available in homes. As a sidenote, Pixar’s Onward rental is not currently in the Top 10 on iTunes (it’s at #11), but Disney also made it available on Disney+ so that could account for why that particular movie is not higher on the charts.
Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn hit theaters back at the beginning of February, so it was through a large chunk of its theatrical run by the time major theater chains like Cinemark, AMC and Regal were forced to shut their doors in March. At the time its run wrapped, the movie had made just over $200 million worldwide, which was a milestone to be sure, but given the movie's middling budget, there's been a lot of talk about whether or not the movie was a mild success or a failure. Even director Cathy Yan has weighed in.
Regardless of what the answer ends up being from a profit standpoint, I'm sure Warner Bros. and DC will be happy to be in more households in the coming weeks and we'll have to wait and see if it's enough to commission more Harley Quinn-led movies down the line. Either way, Margot Robbie's character is expected to be back for James Gunn Suicide Squad when it comes up.