Margot Robbie confusingly revealed Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) as the DC movie's full title - and it's so bad. Warner Bros. first soft-launched its current DC movie franchise with Man of Steel. The Superman origin film was followed by the hard launch of what's been referred to as the DC Extended Universe, or DCEU (though that's not WB's official name for the DC cinematic universe), in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Over the last three years, the Worlds of DC has been plagued by negative perception, with Warner Bros. largely failing to address bad PR in a way that makes fans confident in the franchise's future.
Then, it seemed Warner Bros. and DC Films, with the latter now under the oversight of Walter Hamada, turned a corner in 2018. Aquaman is building good buzz, which is especially important after the critical and box office disappointment of Justice League. Plus, the Worlds of DC has a number of projects in the works that have fans excited, including a Joker movie starring Joaquin Phoenix and a Wonder Woman sequel that brings back the team of the first film. Additionally, Robbie will reprise her Suicide Squad role as Harley Quinn for the female-led team-up film based loosely on the Birds of Prey comics. However, while early buzz for the film seemed mostly positive, the Birds of Prey official title reveal was a step backward.
On Instagram, Robbie revealed the official full title of Birds of Prey, which also acts as a Harley Quinn spinoff. That title is Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). The reveal itself had to be confirmed by Warner Bros. because very few realized Robbie had seriously announced the official title - which goes to show how many thought it to be a joke to begin with. It's a PR misstep when even fans looking forward to a movie don't realize the star/producer has revealed the official title. Plus, though it isn't actually the longest movie title in Hollywood history, it does total a whopping 68 characters across 11 words. A title this long effectively ensures people will only rarely use the full thing; most will likely still refer to the project simply as Birds of Prey.
The Birds of Prey title also feels needlessly long; there must be a shorter way to get the same idea across - or, if we're to view it more cynically, to get both "Birds of Prey" and "Harley Quinn" in a movie title. Further, the title as it is includes the portmanteau "fantabulous," which gives the movie a dated feel because fantabulous, along with portmanteaus in general, saw a spike in popularity in the mid-2000s, but have since died down. Frankly, fantabulous is a bit of a silly word that isn't used very often anymore. Altogether, Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is an overly long movie title that's silly and, at its most cynical, comes across as Warner Bros. wanting to have their cake and eat it, too by having a Birds of Prey movie with the more widely recognized Harley Quinn name in the title.
If there's something good to be said about Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), though, it's that the title nails a very specific tone - one that may belie a fun female-led superhero film. Certainly, the title itself seems to be perfectly in sync with the quirky, energetic voice fans so love about Harley Quinn. The title also promises the movie will address Harley's relationship with the Joker (Jared Leto) since it's likely "emancipation" refers at least in part to Harley leaving that toxic and abusive relationship. (Of course, fans who wanted to see a Birds of Prey movie, rather than a Harley Quinn spinoff featuring the Birds of Prey will no doubt take issue with this direction.) So, some fans may be pleased by what the movie title indicates.
Ultimately, the clumsy and confusing reveal of a divisive title for Birds of Prey is a step back for the DC franchise that has been generating mostly positive sentiment thanks to Aquaman, Joker and Wonder Woman 1984. However, with more than a year until the movie hits theaters, Warner Bros. and DC Films have plenty of time to win over detractors of Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) - and hopefully they will.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- 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