Coronavirus: Birds of Prey Releases Early on Digital Amid U.S. Quarantine

In light of hundreds of millions of people around the world currently living in seclusion in the hopes of minimizing the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, Warner Bros. has decided to release Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey, which released theatrically back in February, to home release on Tuesday, March 24, via streaming video on demand platforms. This follows similar moves by Disney -- which released Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker early digitally and then moved up Frozen 2's Disney+ launch by three months -- and Universal, which announced imminent releases for a number of movies just released to theaters.

Birds of Prey has grossed about $200 million against a reported budget of about $85 million, after a soft opening of $33 million in North America. The film picks up with Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) following the events of David Ayer's Suicide Squad and before James Gunn's The Suicide Squad.

After Harley breaks up with The Joker, she finds that the immunity she has long enjoyed by being on the arm of the most dangerous man in Gotham City has evaporated, leaving her with a target on her back. As dozens of angry men with grudges close in on her -- most notably Roman Sionis/The Black Mask (Ewan McGregor), Harley finds that she is not alone. Teaming with Cassandra Cain (Ellen Jay Basco), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), Harley embarks on a mission to silence her haters once and for all and seize an identity for herself separate from the life she has lived with The Joker.

Prior to the pandemic making its way to the U.S., there had not yet been an official release date set for the movie's home video release, although given the timing of its theatrical window, it is likely that it would have hit stores in May or June. Walmart's website has the film's DVD shipping on May 12, which would likely have meant that Birds of Prey was slated to come to digital platforms in late April, although Walmart, Best Buy, and Amazon routinely list movies based on their best guesses and past practices by the studios, and the dates are sometimes off by a few weeks.

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The film will be joined by The Gentlemen, Warner's other big February release.

Like other new-release movies pushed to home release by the coronavirus crisis, Birds of Prey will be priced at $19.99 and will have a two-week window between when it is purchase-only and when it becomes available to rent.

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