- "It was the closure I needed. A fresh start. A chance to be my own woman. But I wasn't the only dame in Gotham looking for emancipation. This is our story."
- ―Harley Quinn[src]
Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), or simply Birds of Prey, and also marketed as Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey, is a 2020 superhero film, based on the DC Comics superhero team of the same name. It is the eighth film in DC Extended Universe, as well as the first original film to receive an R-rating, and the second overall. It was released on February 7, 2020, in the United States, but premiered at earlier dates around the world.
The film is directed by Cathy Yan and stars Margot Robbie as Harleen Quinzel / Harley Quinn, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Helena Bertinelli / Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Dinah Lance/Black Canary, Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya, Chris Messina as Victor Zsasz, Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain, Ali Wong as Ellen Yee, and Ewan McGregor as Roman Sionis / Black Mask.
- 1 Synopsis
- 2 Plot
- 3 Cast
- 4 Appearances
- 5 Production
- 6 Reception
- 7 Home media
- 8 Music
- 9 Trivia
- 10 References
- 11 External links
You ever hear the one about the cop, the songbird, the psycho, and the mafia princess? Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is a twisted tale told by Harley herself, as only Harley can tell it. When Gotham's most nefariously narcissistic villain, Roman Sionis, and his zealous right-hand, Zsasz, put a target on a young girl named Cass, the city is turned upside down looking for her. Harley, Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya’s paths collide, and the unlikely foursome has no choice but to team up to take Roman down.
During the evening, Harley goes on a binge around the Gotham City nightclub scene and makes several enemies including that of vicious crime lord Roman Sionis' chauffeur. All the while, Harley keeps her breakup with Joker quiet to keep up the pretense of his protection so she is free from reprisal.
One night after partying, Harley overhears several of her friends talking behind her back about her inability to survive on her own and her past over-dependency on Joker. Harley storms off in a fit of emotion and, in an act of impulse, steals a petrol truck and drives it into Ace Chemicals, causing the facility to explode in a spectacle that leaves all in Gotham in awe. The more informed and observant, such as GCPD detective Renee Montoya and Sionis himself, correctly interpret this as Harley demonstrating her split from Joker.
Whilst drinking at Sionis' club, Harley meets Dinah Lance, a singer in Sionis' employ, and openly tells her of her breakup. Harley then has a drink with a male patron before Dinah then witnesses a now drunken Harley and the patron threw out the back of the club.
When the patron and two other men attempt to kidnap Harley, Dinah intervenes and beats up the three men. Her feat is witnessed by Sionis and his associate/serial killer Victor Zsasz. Sionis dispatches Zsasz to fetch Dinah and offers her the now vacant position of his driver.
Meanwhile, Harley rents a flat of her own and is slowly beginning to assert her independence from Joker, going as far as to adopt a pet hyena which she names after Bruce Wayne. As her split from Joker becomes known, Harley begins to frequently encounter people she has wronged in the past, most of whom seek revenge for her prior behavior. Sionis, however, sees Harley's relationship change as an opportunity to acquire her skills for his own.
Sionis is currently attempting to become Gotham's foremost gangster and, to fund his ambition, he is attempting to acquire the Bertinelli Diamond which contains a code to Bertinelli's foreign bank accounts. Sionis sends Zsasz to retrieve the diamond but in the process, he is unwittingly pick-pocketed by Cassandra Cain, a troubled orphan with a skill for thievery.
Cass is arrested soon after Zsasz and Dinah realize she has the diamond. Sionis is furious with the diamond's loss and dispatches Harley to find Cass and the diamond. At the same time, he puts a price on Cassandra's head; causing many criminals in Gotham to likewise seek her out.
Harley raids the GCPD where Cass is currently being held after her arrest. Harley eventually finds and escapes with Cass but the latter has swallowed the diamond. Harley keeps Cass handcuffed to her until the diamond can be retrieved by feeding her laxatives. Although Harley and Cass initially interact with mutual suspicion, the two begin to warm to each other.
Harley takes Cass back to her flat where the two begin to bond over their lives of relative solitude. The flat is then attacked after her landlord Doc gives up her location to a mysterious assassin, the Huntress, who is attempting to locate Zsasz.
Upon witnessing the vulnerability of her situation harboring a girl with a price on her head, and learning that Doc sold her out, Harley decides to make a deal with Sionis to give Cass to him in return for his protection. An arrangement is made to meet at an abandoned waterfront amusement park.
Dinah notifies Montoya of the arrangement and location. However, Zsasz observes a text message on Dinah's phone from Montoya en route to the park and informs Sionis that she is an informer. Enraged by her disloyalty, Sionis dons a black mask and rounds up a gang of criminals who owe him favors and moves to the park.
At the park, Harley duct tapes Cass to a toilet and waits for the laxatives to relieve her of the diamond. Montoya arrives and confronts Harley but is knocked out of a window during the fight. Zsasz and Dinah arrive and Harley is tranquilized before Zsasz then turns on Dinah for her betrayal but, while holding her at gunpoint, Zsasz is killed by Huntress, who then reveals herself as Helena Bertinelli, the last surviving member of the Bertinelli crime family, before explaining that Zsasz was one of her family's killers. Montoya returns and a stand-off ensues.
Harley, Dinah, Montoya, and Bertinelli notice Sionis has arrived with his gang and come to realize they all have a common enemy in him and his followers. The group unite to defend themselves from Sionis' thugs and, using Harley's remaining arsenal, they fight off their attackers. Cass is captured and delivered to Sionis.
Whilst attempting to exit the funhouse, Montoya is shot but saved from injury by a bulletproof vest Harley lent her. Dinah then uses her metahuman ability to incapacitate the remaining attackers, allowing Bertinelli and Harley to pursue Sionis.
Bertinelli uses her motorcycle to push Harley on her roller skates. Harley assails the motorcade carrying Sionis and Cass and causes them to crash. Injured, Sionis takes Cass to a nearby pier and Harley pursues him. Whilst Sionis is preoccupied with confronting Harley, Cassandra reveals she planted a grenade on him. When attempting to find the grenade on his persons, thus dropping his guard, Harley kicks Sionis off the pier. Before he hits the water, the grenade explodes, killing him.
As a result of Sionis' death, his criminal organization dissipates. Montoya resigns her position at the GCPD and joins up with Dinah and Bertinelli; forming their vigilante group, the Birds of Prey, funded by the money from the accounts information inscribed inside the diamond, which Harley later pawns to bankroll her own business she set up, while taking on Cass as an apprentice.
In a post credit audio, Harley is about to reveal a secret about Batman to the audience before it cuts midway.
- Margot Robbie as Dr. Harleen Quinzel/Harley Quinn
- Rosie Perez as Detective Renee Montoya
- Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Helena Bertinelli/Huntress
- Ella Mika as Young Helena Bertinelli
- Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Dinah Lance/Black Canary
- Ewan McGregor as Roman Sionis/Black Mask
- Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain
- Chris Messina as Victor Zsasz
- Ali Wong as Assistant District Attorney Ellen Yee
- David Uri as Dave Murray
- Sara Montez as Kathrine
- Derek Wilson as Detective Tim Munroe
- Guiseppe Bucaro as Carlo Rossi
- François Chau as Mr. Keo
- Miyuki Matsunaga as Mrs. Keo
- Anna Mikami as Miss Keo
- Bruno Oliver as Sal
- Matthew Willig as Happy
- Jeremy Denzlinger as Desk Sergeant Simpson
- Michael Masini as Officer Drago
- Steven Williams as Captain Patrick Erickson
- Charlene Amoia as Maria Bertinelli
- Paul Lasa as Franco Bertinelli
- Robert Catrini as Stefano Galante
- KK Barrett as Dr. Aguilar
- Dana Lee as Doc
- Bojana Novakovic as Erika
- Johnny Goth as Joker (body double; uncredited)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo (mentioned)
- Kinshasa (mentioned)
- Ecuador (mentioned)
- France (mentioned)
- Italy (flashback)
- Sicily (flashback)
- United States of America
- New Jersey
- Gotham City
- Ace Chemicals factory
- Amusement Mile
- Arkham Asylum (flashback)
- Bertinelli Mansion (flashback)
- Founders Pier
- Gotham City Imports Office
- Gotham National Bank (mentioned)
- Lower East Side
- Murray's Exotic Animals
- Robinson Park (mentioned)
- Sal's Bodega
- St. Bernadette's Orphanage (flashback)
- Taco Dirty To Me
- Warehouse District
- Gotham City
- Louisiana (mentioned)
- Belle Reve (mentioned)
- New Jersey
- Democratic Republic of the Congo (mentioned)
- Halloween (mentioned)
- Christmas (mentioned)
- Bertinelli massacre (flashback)
- Manhunt of the Birds of Prey
- Battle of Midway City (mentioned)
- Acupuncture models
- Black skull mask
- Bertinelli diamond
- Chokwe masks
- Crossbow pistol
- Fun Gun
- Good Night
- Harlequin bustier
- Harley Quinn's mallet
- Harley's toy beaver
- Huntress suit
- Knuckle dusters
- Nano-bomb detonators (mentioned)
- Police baton
- Ace Chemicals
- Bertinelli crime family
- Birds of Prey
- Black Mask's criminal organization
- Fuller & Form
- Galante crime family
- Golden Lions
- Gotham City Fire Department
- Gotham City Hunters
- Gotham City Police Department
- Harley Quinn and Associates
- Janus Corporation (logo)
- Joker's gang (flashback)
- Lords of the Avenues
- Mbangani tribe (mentioned)
- Mercedes gang
- Olive Garden (mentioned)
- Shaur (mentioned)
- Sprang Bridge Soldiers (mentioned)
- Bruce Wayne/Batman
- Bernie Sanders
- Captain Boomerang (photo)
- Dinah Lance's mother
- Eleanor Roosevelt
- Frida Kahlo
- Harleen Quinzel's father (flashback)
- Harleen Quinzel's first boyfriend (flashback)
- Harleen Quinzel's second boyfriend (flashback)
- Harleen Quinzel's ex-girlfriend (flashback)
- Roman Sionis' father
- Tweety (TV video)
- Sylvester the Cat (TV video)
- George Washington
In May 2016, ahead of the release of Suicide Squad, Warner Bros. announced a spin-off film focusing on Harley Quinn and several other female heroes and villains, such as Batgirl and the Birds of Prey. Margot Robbie was attached to reprise her role as Harley Quinn, and would also serve as producer. British screenwriter Christina Hodson was announced to be writing the film in November. Robbie pitched the film to Warner Bros. in 2015 as "an R-rated girl gang film including Harley, because I was like, ‘Harley needs friends.’ Harley loves interacting with people, so don't ever make her do a standalone film". Robbie felt it was important for the film to have a female director. By April 2018, Warner Bros. and DC Films had finalized a deal with Cathy Yan to direct, making her the first female Asian director to direct a superhero film.
Additionally, Robbie was confirmed to be producing the film under her LuckyChap Entertainment banner, as part of a first-look deal she has with the studio; Sue Kroll and Bryan Unkeless were also announced to serve as producers through their companies Kroll & Co. Entertainment and Clubhouse Pictures, respectively. Production was scheduled to begin by late 2018 or early 2019. Birds of Prey is the second DC Extended Universe (DCEU) film featuring Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, pushing the then-untitled Suicide Squad sequel (now known as The Suicide Squad) out of the 2018 production schedule. By late April, two different versions of the script were in development; both included Harley Quinn and Batgirl, while one of them featured the Oswald Cobblepot as the main villain. The latter script was eventually dropped to preserve the Oswald Cobblepot's debut in a Batman solo film (as teased in Justice League). By May 2018, production was scheduled to begin in January 2019. By June, both Huntress and Black Canary were expected to appear in the film.
It was reported that the budget was $75 million, the lowest of any DCEU film.  The film was rumored to have an R-rating, being the first R-rated DCEU film.
Regarding the film's R-rating, star Margot Robbie stated that the rating allowed the cast to take things to the next level in regards to the film's fight scenes. Director Cathy Yan stated that she was grateful that the rating allowed her to take the characters' story where it needed to go. Mary Elizabeth Winstead described the film as taking a "no-holds-barred" approach.
By July 2018, the film was entering pre-production. Robbie confirmed the film would be titled Birds of Prey, describing it as "different" from the other DC films featuring Harley Quinn, and said it would be produced on a relatively small budget compared to other superhero films. She also stated that Harley Quinn would receive a new costume, and teased the casting of diverse actors. The line-up for the Birds of Prey team was revealed to include Black Canary, Huntress, Cassandra Cain, and Renee Montoya, with the villain set to be a Batman adversary who had not yet been seen in any Batman film. Casting began in August, with Warner Bros. considering several actresses to be cast as Huntress and Black Canary. Alexandra Daddario, Jodie Comer, Blake Lively, and Vanessa Kirby all expressed interest. Additionally, Black Mask was revealed to be the film's antagonist.
Later that month, Warner Bros. revealed it was interested in casting a biracial actress to play Black Canary. Janelle Monáe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Jurnee Smollett-Bell were under consideration for the role by September, while Sofia Boutella, Margaret Qualley, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Cristin Milioti were being considered to play Huntress. Justina Machado and Roberta Colindrez tested for Renee Montoya, while Warner Bros. began seeking a 12-year-old Asian actress to play Cassandra Cain. In late September, Smollett-Bell and Winstead were respectively cast as Black Canary and Huntress, Warner Bros. scheduled a February 7, 2020 release date, and Ewan McGregor and Sharlto Copley were under consideration for the role of Black Mask.
During the U.S.-China Entertainment Summit in October, Yan confirmed the cast and that the film would be R-rated. She said that she "could not put the script down, it had so much dark humor to it which a lot of my work does, and there are themes of female empowerment which are so strong and relatable". Cinematographer Matthew Libatique joined the film that month, as did Rosie Perez, who was cast as Renee Montoya. Stunt coordinator Jonathan Eusebio and fight coordinator Jon Valera joined in November, along with Ewan McGregor as Black Mask and Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain. Additionally, Robbie revealed that the full title would be Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) and that the subtitle reflects the humorous and lighter tone of the film. Production designer K. K. Barrett joined in December, as did Chris Messina as Victor Zsasz. Steven Williams, Derek Wilson, Dana Lee, François Chau, Matthew Willig, Ali Wong, and Robert Catrini all joined the film's cast as well.
Principal photography began in Los Angeles, California on January 14, 2019, under the production title "Fox Force Five". Filming also took place in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, and was completed on April 15, 2019. On August 16, 2019, Chad Stahelski was reportedly brought in to oversee reshoots for the film. The scene in which Roman Sionis, the Black Mask, forces a female patron to disrobe was nearly cut from the film. Director Cathy Yan fought for the scene, as it as considered both uncomfortable and risky. She considered it a really important scene, as it was key in terms of Black Canary's character for her seeing Sionis for who he really was for the first time.
Method Studios provided the visual effects for the film.
The film has received early positive social media buzz. Katie Walsh of the LA Times described it as "a campy and brutal carnival ride" and tipped Ewan McGregor for a Best Supporting Actor role. Laura Prodom of IGN stated that she had low expectations going into the film, but was pleasantly surprised by it, stating that while it doesn't reinvent the wheel, it has "style to spare." An early report indicated disappointing pre-release ticket sales, with a Lose Angeles theater insider describing sales as being "dead in the water." However, a conflicting report indicated strong enthusiasm for the film, stating that it outdid both Wonder Woman and Suicide Squad in its first-day presales. As of the afternoon of February 22, 2020, the film holds a 78% score on the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes with 358 reviews.
The film was reported to have taken in approximately $4 million in Thursday night early showings and $7.8 million in international markets, having performed particularly strongly in Russia. The film was originally projected to open to $50-55 million domestically for its first weekend, with a global total of $115-125 million. However, disappointing sales afterward led the projection to be revised sharply downward, with the film projected instead to open to $34 million domestically, the worst opening for a D.C.-adapted film since 2010's Jonah Hex. The film ultimately opened close to this projection, at $33.2 million. It was suggested that the film's R rating might have hurt its box office. Some questioned whether the film's R rating was truly necessary as a marketing tool, noting that with a bit less swearing and a few other changes, the film could have been released with a PG-13 rating. However, Darren Mooney of Escapist stated that the film was rated R because it had an R-rated perspective worth sharing, that it was essential to the film's identity in ways large and small. In an apparent attempt to boost sales and better market the film following the disappointing opening weekend performance, Warner Bros. began marketing the film under the title Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.
The film was reported as having gotten a mild second wind over the President's Day weekend, earning $6.35 million on its second Friday in the release. Overall, the film was described as having a decent second weekend, down only 46% to $23 million, despite facing fierce competition from Sonic the Hedgehog.
In its third weekend, Birds of Prey earned $7 million domestically, losing 700 theaters. Although it passed the $100 million mark internationally, it dropped 59% from the previous weekend.
On March 17, 2020, in part due to the coronavirus outbreak and following support of the decision from the film's director, Warner Bros. announced that the film would be released for digital purchase on March 24, despite still being in some theaters. Amazon's listed date for the film's digital release was April 21, 2020. The film has been slated for release on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD formats on May 12, 2020.
- This is the only film in the DC Extended Universe that has no confirmed dates for any major events. The only real clue is the fact that the model of Huntress' motorcycle became commercially available in November of 2019, so the core plot must have occurred no earlier than that.
- The events of the movie also appear to take place in summertime, implying the events of the film might take place after the release date of the movie, such as summer 2020.
- Couch, Aaron; McMillian, Graeme (November 20, 2018). Margot Robbie Reveals Full ‘Birds of Prey’ Title: 'The Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn'. The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved on January 28, 2019.
- Julian, Mark (January 1, 2020). WB Is Renaming BIRDS OF PREY To HARLEY QUINN: BIRDS OF PREY In A Bid To Spark The Box Office. Comic Book Movie.
- BIRDS OF PREY (& The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn) Synopsis Confirms Several Plot Points - Comic Book Movie
- The Latest ‘Birds Of Prey’ Plot Description Makes It Sound Like DC’s Version Of ‘Deadpool’
- Scarnato, Ryden (February 27, 2020). New Look At Jared Leto’s Joker Double In ‘Birds Of Prey’ Revealed. Heroic Hollywood. Retrieved on February 29, 2020.
- Webb, Katherine (January 26, 2020). Why Birds Of Prey Is Rated R, According To Margot Robbie And Team. Cinemablend. Retrieved on January 26, 2020.
- 'John Wick' Director Chad Stahelski to Oversee New Action Scenes for 'Birds of Prey' (Exclusive)
- Yaniz Jr., Robert (April 5, 2020). ‘Birds of Prey’: Why Director Cathy Yan Had to Fight for that ‘Risky’ Ewan McGregor Scene. Showbiz Cheatsheet. Retrieved on April 5, 2020.
- Vincent, Brittany (January 31, 2020). First Birds of Prey Reactions Call It 'Unpredictable' and 'Oozing With Attitude'. Retrieved on February 2, 2020.
- McGloin, Matt (January 31, 2020). Exclusive: Birds of Prey Tickets 'Dead In the Water'. Retrieved on February 2, 2020.
- Mullen, Amanda (February 2, 2020). Birds of Prey soars past Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman with first-day presales. Fansided. Retrieved on February 2, 2020.
- Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn. Retrieved on February 22, 2020.
- Marston, George (February 7, 2020). BIRDS OF PREY Earns $11.8m Globally To Date. Newsarama. Retrieved on February 7, 2020.
- Fuster, Jeremy (February 8, 2020). ‘Birds of Prey’ Lays an Egg at Box Office, Set for Worst DC Opening Since ‘Jonah Hex’. The Wrap. Retrieved on February 8, 2020.
- Pallotta, Frank (February 9, 2020). 'Birds of Prey' fails to take off at the box office. CNN Business. Retrieved on February 9, 2020.
- Geisinger, Gabriella (February 12, 2020). Why Birds of Prey disappointed at the box office, but wasn't *really* a flop at all. Digitalspy. Retrieved on February 15, 2020.
- Mooney, Darren (February 21, 2020). Birds of Prey Was Rated R Because It Had an R-Rated Perspective Worth Sharing. Escapist. Retrieved on February 21, 2020.
- Mendelson, Scott (February 15, 2020). Friday Box Office: ‘Birds Of Prey’ Holds, ‘Bad Boys 3’ Soars And ‘Parasite’ Cashes In. Forbes. Retrieved on February 15, 2020.
- Tartaglione, Nancy (February 16, 2020). ‘Sonic The Hedgehog’ Races To $43M Overseas For $100M Global Bow; ‘Birds Of Prey’ Flaps To $143M WW – International Box Office. Deadline. Retrieved on February 16, 2020.
- Mendelson, Scott (February 23, 2020). Box Office: ‘Birds Of Prey’ Falls Hard As ‘Sonic’ Booms Past $200M. Retrieved on February 23, 2020.
- Tenreyro, Tatiana (March 17, 2020). Warner Bros. Will Release "Birds Of Prey" On Demand Early Amid The Coronavirus Pandemic. Buzzfeed. Retrieved on March 17, 2020.
- Birds Of Prey And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn. Amazon. Retrieved on March 17, 2020.
- Scarnato, Ryden (March 31, 2020). Blu-Ray Release Date For Margot Robbie’s ‘Birds Of Prey’ Revealed. Heroic Hollywood. Retrieved on April 2, 2020.
- Official website
- Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on Wikipedia
- Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on IMDb
|Films in the DC Extended Universe|
|Released||Man of Steel • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice • Suicide Squad • Wonder Woman • Justice League • Aquaman • Shazam! • Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) • Wonder Woman 1984|
|Upcoming||The Suicide Squad • The Flash • Aquaman 2 • Shazam! Fury of the Gods • Black Adam|
|In development||The Trench • Wonder Woman 3|