Shared universes and comic book movies may be commonplace now, but there was a time when they were few and far between. The modern superhero blockbuster began with 2000's X-Men, as Bryan Singer's massively successful movie proved that the genre was both profitable and popular. And as other studios rose up to revolutionize serialized storytelling, the X-Men franchise has continued churning out new releases, with 20th Century Fox currently gearing up for Dark Phoenix to finally arrive in theaters.
But Dark Phoenix has had a bumpy road to theaters, being pushed back a number of times since its original release date. These delays have given the fandom pause for concern, although director/producer Simon Kinberg recently addressed the decision to push back the blockbuster's highly anticipated release. As he recently explained,
Well it was a combination of things. One, November was always a very ambitious release date for us, given how many visual effects and how complex the visual effects in this film were going to be. When we felt like we werenâ€™t going to be able to complete the movie to the level we wanted to complete it from a visual effects standpoint, we considered moving it from November to February. Then, because of the way the international calendar was for us and how fast we could get materials to other territories, we felt like February became not just challenging, but not necessarily the best window internationally for the film. Itâ€™s very close to Captain Marvel. The studio started to feel that the movie was so massive in scale that it could compete in the most competitive time for films, which is summer. So we started looking at the potential for summer dates, and June 7 stood out as a date we could have for ourselves. Itâ€™s however many weeks after Avengers, so there will not have been a comic book movie for a little while, and our hope is that people will be excited about seeing another one.
Is anyone else's head spinning? While movie releases may seem pretty black and white for moviegoers/fans, the reality is far more complicated. Simon Kinberg has broken down the decision making that went into Dark Phoenix's delay, and it seems pretty logical when laid out. Perhaps that will help X-Men fans feel better as they patiently wait for the Jean Grey-centric movie to finally hit theaters.
Simon Kinberg's comments to EW might actually be a relief to those worried about Dark Phoenix's quality. Superhero movies rely heavily on visual affects, and subpart CGI can quickly ruin a theatrical experience. Just look at Justice League for example. As such, it's refreshing to hear that 20th Century Fox wanted to take the time to make the visuals of Dark Phoenix the best they can be, bringing mutant abilities to life in the process. Footage from the new trailer did just that, as the movie looks like a visual treat full of exciting action in both space and on Earth.
Aside from that, Dark Phoenix's delays are all about timing. The superhero genre has been accused of being saturated before, and Simon Kinberg and company didn't want the upcoming X-Men movie to get lost in the busy market. So they're waiting a month after Avengers: Endgame hits theaters, hoping that audiences will be ready to see another superhero team movie in theaters after seeing the MCU wrap up its Phase Three.
This logic stands to reason, so perhaps Dark Phoenix will end up being a solid release after all. The pressure is certainly on, as X-Men: Apocalypse left much to be desired. And considering Dark Phoenix may be the last official X-Men movie before the Disney/Fox merger, it could end up being the swan song of the long-running franchise.
Dark Phoenix is set to arrive in theaters on June 7th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.