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For almost 20 years, Fox’s X-Men franchise has told a continuing story of a team of mutants across decades of time. As the property moves into the hands of Disney’s Marvel Studios, the series of movies will never be the same. After reviews rolled in last night for the latest installment and culmination of two decades, Dark Phoenix is going out in a blaze of critical disappointment.
After nearly 100 critics offered up their take on the upcoming release, Dark Phoenix has a rotten Tomatometer score of 21%. This makes the film the most disappointing X-Men release to date, by far as even 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse managed to receive a 47% and 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine rounded out at 37%. It even makes the infamous X-Men: The Last Stand look like a big win here with its 58% score.
There’s been some red flags concerning the release already. Dark Phoenix was originally supposed to be released back in November 2018 before massive reshoots concerning the end of the film set it back to February, and then again to this weekend. Recent words by James McAvoy indicated that these changes actually had to be made because it had some overlap with another recent superhero movie. Yikes!
CinemaBlend’s own Eric Eisenberg gave the film a 1.5 stars out of 5 in his review where he called the Dark Phoenix “jaw-dropping in its incompetence overall”. His opinion has been clearly echoed in other reviews which has also been named “the most embarrassing film in the series”, a “poorly written nonsense cartoon”, “disappointing” and on the high end: “fine”.
The film features a star-studded cast of actors including James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Evan Peters and Jessica Chastain as a newcomer. This apparently doesn’t help the movie find its bearings as longtime X-Men writer Simon Kinberg takes up his first directorial feature, along with penning the script.
Dark Phoenix is already on pace to be the lowest box office opening for the X-Men franchise as well, since tracking has the movie at a $50 million debut. The superhero flick is set to open behind The Secret Life of Pets 2 which is tracking much higher at $65 million this weekend.
These reviews certainly won’t help these predicted numbers that would place Dark Phoenix below 2013’s The Wolverine $53 million opening weekend. However, not all critical failures equal a commercial one. If audiences are interested enough in what the X-Men culmination has to offer it can still has some potential to make some money and could have a higher audience score too.
Early this year, M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass was given a brutal 37% Tomatometer but audiences gave it a 71% audience score and it made $246 million worldwide. Aladdin also wasn’t a big hit with critics with a rotten 56%, but the audience score is near perfect at 94%.
If this score is bumming you out, look on the bright side: the X-Men franchise was already likely going to end with the Disney / Fox merger now in effect, so it’s not like this film needs to be successful so we can see more.
You can treat the Tomatometer as a cautionary tale or see Dark Phoenix for yourself this weekend when it hits theaters on June 7.