Warner Brothers has announced that Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emanicipation of One Harley Quinn), which was released February 7, 2020, has changed its name to Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey. The original title was too long to fit easily on the average theater marquee. IGN called it “obscenely long.”
“Harley Quinn is immensely popular compared to the likes of Huntress, Renee Montoya, and Black Canary, so it makes sense why Warner Bros. would pivot in an attempt to cash in on the character’s name recognition. Instead of burying her name at the end of an obscenely long title, causing many people to not even include her name when referring to the movie, it has now been moved to the front. The absurd original title was very much in-character for Harley Quinn, [emphasis added] but it seems the studio wants to eschew that in favor of being crystal clear with viewers. Not to mention, Harley Quinn is the star of the film, with the Birds of Prey acting as supporting characters in her wild and zany narrative, so this new title better reflects that.”
The odds are good (may they be ever in your favor) that most people would have simply referred to it as ‘the Harley Quinn movie.’ Warner Bros. may have simply wanted to succumb to the inevitable.
In its opening weekend, the movie with the long name made less money than anticipated: a “mere” $33.2 million. Most film critics think this is not because of the unwieldy name, but because of the R rating preventing teenagers from buying tickets.
Like Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey has a female director (Cathy Yan). It also has a female scriptwriter (Christina Hodson), and two of the committee of nine producers are female (Margot Robbie, Sue Kroll). With the fantabulous Harley Quinn breaking up with the Joker and teaming up with some of the toughest women in Gotham City, we finally may have a superhero movie where the women do more than look sexy for male viewers in impractical costumes.
I predict this movie will pass the Bechdal Test. I request that as many people as possible add fantabulous to their vocabulary. Such a wonderful neologism should not be permitted to fade away.
Are you planning to see this movie? Do you have an opinion about the title change? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.