The recent teaser trailer for Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn) would not have worked if it had made a typical online debut. The upcoming superhero film sees Margot Robbie reprise her role as Harley Quinn from 2016's Suicide Squad, a return heavily emphasized in the movie's marketing campaign. Though the Birds of Prey teaser has found its way online, it hasn't seen an official online release sanctioned by Warner Bros., with the studio instead electing to attach it exclusively to prints of their new horror movie IT Chapter Two. From the way the particular gimmick of the teaser is structured, it's very clear that not only was this a wise move on Warner Bros. part, but also an essential one for the trick to have any impact.
The Birds of Prey teaser opens with the Warner Bros. logo and a collection of red balloons floating into the air, while a snippet of Pennywise's menacing theme from IT plays. After a moment, the DC logo appears while a character in silhouette approaches the camera. The figure eventually comes into focus as Harley Quinn, who pops one of the balloons with her oversized mallet before declaring "I'm so f---ing over clowns!" At this point, the proper teaser kicks in, showing snippets of Harley Quinn, along with the titular heroines of the film, Huntress, Black Canary, and the Cassandra Cain Batgirl battling criminals in Gotham City.
The gimmick of the cinema-only Birds of Prey teaser is obviously to momentarily fool audiences attending IT Chapter Two into thinking that the movie they've paid to see is about to begin, even being positioned as the final trailer before the film itself. If audience and social media responses over the past weekend are the be believed, the trick has worked like a charm on many unsuspecting moviegoers. However, it also makes clear that Warner Bros. decision to specifically debut the teaser in front of IT Chapter Two was not only smart, but that an online release normally seen by tentpole films would have cost the teaser its effectiveness.
With a typical release on Warner Bros. official YouTube channel and social media pages, anyone viewing the teaser would already be fully aware of what they're watching and have no illusions that IT Chapter Two is about to begin. By designing the new teaser trailer for Birds of Prey with such a gimmick, Warner Bros. was clearly intending for it to be seen in front of their adaptation of Stephen King's novel. By removing it from its bait-and-switch towards the return of Pennywise, the teaser would not only no be longer capable of fooling the viewer, but the trick would have felt cheap and unnecessary if it were being seen for the first time online rather than in a movie theater.
The teaser's presence in front of a thoroughly dark and violent horror film like IT Chapter Two, along with Harley's muted F-bomb also further solidifies that the film is indeed going for an R-rating. That's in addition to the hard-hitting action glimpsed in the teaser along with the recent boarding of Chad Stahelski as second unit director, well known for his role in directing the John Wick trilogy. All of that coupled with the misdirection tailor made for IT Chapter Two, it's obvious that while Harley Quinn may be over clowns, the teaser trailer for Birds of Prey simply couldn't have divorced itself from Pennywise.
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
- Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- The Batman (2021) release date: Jun 25, 2021
- The Suicide Squad (2021) release date: Aug 06, 2021
- DC Super Pets (2022) release date: May 20, 2022
- Aquaman 2 (2022) release date: Dec 16, 2022