Warner Brothers surprised many this week when it made the decision to rename the new Margot Robbie film.
Originally titled Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), the movie is now known simply as Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.
The change came after a lacklustre opening weekend, taking $US33 million ($49 million) at the box office, far below the $US50-55 million ($74-$82 million) that had been expected.
This was despite the fact the movie has been given strong reviews and high scores on film sites (80 per cent on the Tomatometer, and 81 per cent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes).
And while shortening the length of the title from 11 words to just five will certainly make it easier for viewers to discuss the film, it turns out there is another reason for the change.
Speaking to The Verge, a Warner Brothers spokesperson said the change was to help boost the SEO of the film.
The change is part of a “search expansion for ticket sites”, said the spokesperson.
“Harley Quinn”, a popular and recognisable character in the film world, was reportedly central to the decision to rejig the title.
Warner Brothers had already been criticised for choosing not to put Harley Quinn at the end of the original title, as opposed to the beginning, prior to releasing the movie.
However, speaking to the Vanity Fair, Warner Brothers executive Sue Kroll specified the film hasn’t officially been renamed, rather it is a “display change for exhibition”.