That sad trombone sound you hear is playing both womp-womp and "Taps" for Dark Phoenix. Yes, it had the worst opening of any X-Men movie. It was also the worst reviewed by critics. It is being kicked around across the internet. But we can also focus on some positives, because there are a few.
First, the Simon Kinberg movie is estimated to open to about $33 million this weekend. That's a lot lower than the early projections, and by far the lowest domestic opening of the X-Men pack. The next above it is The Wolverine at $53 million.
Here's a look at X-Men franchise opening weekends at the U.S./Canada domestic box office, listed best to worst:
The theater counts are comparable -- some more than Dark Phoenix, some fewer, per Box Office Mojo. The time of year is also pretty close. X-Men movies have had good luck with Memorial Day openings, but Deadpool also proved February is just fine if you have a good movie on your hands. Dark Phoenix opened a couple of weekends after Memorial Day, ala X-Men: First Class in 2011. Things didn't turn out as well for it.
On to the ratings. Dark Phoenix currently has a 22% rating from 221 Rotten Tomatoes critics. That is currently the lowest score of the X-Men franchise, even lower than the 37% for X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
However, here's some good news: Dark Phoenix's RT Audience Score, from 2,238 users so far, is 65%. That's better than the 58% for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, although that film now has 561,230 user ratings. Dark Phoenix also currently matches the 65% Audience Score for X-Men: Apocalypse.
If you jump over to IMDb, Dark Phoenix currently has a rating of 6.0 from 17,988 users. For comparison, X-Men Origins: Wolverine has a 6.6 rating and X-Men: Apocalypse has 7.0. So the news isn't so great there.
It gets worse over at CinemaScore, where Dark Phoenix was given a B- grade from moviegoers polled on opening night. That's also the worst, lower than the B+ that both X-Men Origins: Wolverine and X-Men: First Class were given. X-Men: Apocalypse actually got an A-, same as the 2000 X-Men.
Time for more good news: The international box office should really help here. Dark Phoenix has a reported production budget of $200 million, so the film will have to be huge overseas to make a profit. But technically it could happen. We'll have to wait and see how the film does at the foreign markets, then see the final worldwide tally.
It's not like Fox was planning to make another X-Men movie after this, and with Disney/Marvel now in charge of the X-Men characters they could have a bright future ahead in the MCU. But this is the end of the X-Men franchise as we knew it, and it's sad to see the whole thing end with such a whimper.
But at least it's not New Mutants. (Too soon?)
Based on the box office, you probably didn't go see Dark Phoenix. But if you did, what would you grade it? Vote in our poll below, and keep up with all films coming to the big screen in 2019 with our handy guide.
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Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.
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