As the final entry in the recent run of X-Men films, Dark Phoenix has been an interesting case study when it comes to what sort of opening to expect. With several release date bumps to the film’s name, it’s hard to tell if Fox is being protective of the film’s chances in theaters, or if they’re just trying to find a good spot for it to take its lumps and move on.
In either case, it looks like we have our first big indicator of whether Dark Phoenix will rise from the ashes, or be reduced to embers. The opening weekend for the film is estimated to land between $40 – 55 million, and if this holds, there’s a good chance that director Simon Kinberg’s film will have the smallest opening of the entire X-Men franchise.
Spanning back to the year 2000, the X-Men series has had peaks and troughs when mapping its box office history. Starting with $54.5 million opening in the first July of this millennium, the series would climb to its highest opening ever with 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, which weighed in with a $102.7 mil opening.
Before these estimates for Dark Phoenix came in pegging the film with a $40 – 55 million range, the low water mark stood at 2011’s X-Men: First Class, which brought in $55.1 million in one of the few openings in the franchise taking place outside of its typical May time frame.
So in order to avoid this outcome, Dark Phoenix needs to not only stay on the high end of the opening range estimated by Box Office Pro, it needs to bury the needle and go above and beyond those numbers. It wouldn’t have to be a huge jump past the high water mark, but the more it can surpass these numbers, the better Dark Phoenix’s chances would be of recouping its rumored budget. Though the whispers of a monetary spend upwards of $200 million don’t exactly bode well.
Counter to the typical picture of comic book box office success, the X-Men series has been less consistent in its increases, but more consistent in its cyclical nature. Looking at the pattern as it stands, Dark Phoenix’s intended end of the current phase of mutant powered films couldn’t have come at a better time.
Should this new crater in the X-Men box office time line occur, there is a silver lining that’s currently presented as a con. There’d be nowhere to go but up when the X-Men franchise eventually makes to return to the box office as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Revitalizing this classic fan favorite property, with the hype of a fresh MCU coat of paint, is exactly the blockbuster that everyone will be waiting for.
For now though, we’ll have to wait and see if Dark Phoenix makes or breaks this round of fate in the X-Men universe, and if that final impressive trailer makes any difference in the matter, when the movie debuts on June 7th.